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Library opens access to computers

Although patrons still can’t peruse the bookshelves, the Pearl River County libraries have once again allowed public access to each facility’s computers, by appointment only.

The libraries are accepting appointments for use of the public access computers on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 9 a.m. to noon and again from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Anyone can call the library to reserve a time. The Margaret Reed Crosby Memorial Library can be reached at 601-798-5081 and the Poplarville Public Library can be reached at 601-795-8411.

In normal times the computers are well used, said Pearl River County Library System Director Carol Phares, which is why making them available again was a priority. Phares said they wanted to ensure that residents who need a computer and Internet access for a job hunt or to communicate with far away family and friends would be able to use one.

Patrons are required to wear a mask inside the library and are asked to wash their hands before coming to the library. Hand sanitizer will be available. Anyone experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or running a fever is asked not to enter the library.

Visitors will be assigned a computer for a 25 minute time slot. If no one is scheduled for the next time slot the computer user will be able to renew. Scanning library cards will be contactless. Not all of the computers are available to ensure social distancing between patrons. Keyboards are wrapped in plastic that is sanitized between each user and thrown away at the end of the day.

A plexiglass barrier has been added to the circulation desk to protect library staff. The sneeze guard will be paid for with funds from the CARES Act.

The libraries are still offering curbside service for checking out books. Patrons can reserve two items per person. Library staff members pull requested books from the shelves and bring them out to the visitor’s car.