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Du Quoin Library resumes curbside pickup on June 1

  • Du Quoin Public Library Director Kristina Benson is ready for curbside delivery to begin.

    Du Quoin Public Library Director Kristina Benson is ready for curbside delivery to begin.
    Devan Vaughn photo

By Renee Trappe
updated: 5/29/2020 8:50 AM

The Du Quoin Public Library is resuming "contactless" curbside service on June 1 for Du Quoin Library cardholders.

The catch is that the inter-library loan service has not started back up again, but there is still plenty in the library's own collection to borrow.

"Call us between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and we'll share what we have inside our building," says Library Director Kristina Benson.

Benson herself will bring the materials out to patrons. Or, she'll bring various items in a series, and the patron can point to which bits they want to take. Benson will run back and forth wearing what can only be described as an "unusual" hat she got for the occasion.

"I have a spectacularly stupid hat to wear," Benson says cheerfully. "We're going to have as much fun with this as we can."

The library did curbside service when the COVID-19 pandemic first hit and the library closed to the public, but quit soon after when the first stay at home order was given.

Now, is the first step toward eventually opening the library back up to the public in its entirety.

And when it does open, patrons will notice some changes: socially-distanced computers and seating arrangements, and sneeze guards built into the circulation counter, and possibly the computer stations as well.

To accommodate the necessary spacing, the number of available computers will drop from eight to six.

When the library will totally reopen is unknown. As a city library that decision will be up to the mayor and city council, and the Illinois Department of Public Health.

"We're still in the process of moving furniture," Benson added.

Meanwhile, the interlibrary loan program is in something of a pickle, given how much material was out on loan when the stay-at-home order came down in mid-March.

"I just got an email there are 16,000 items outstanding," in the Illinois Heartland Library System, which includes central and southern Illinois libraries, Benson said. "I have four tubs and one bag of stuff, and it's taller than I am."

If you are holding onto any material that was an interlibrary loan, Benson is asking that you return it. The book drop remains open even as the library is closed to the public.

Benson said all returned material automatically goes into quarantine for 72 hours before it is returned to the collection or loaned out to someone else.

Patrons must place an order for material ahead of time, via Facebook message, telephone call or email. The library catalog is online.

Librarians are also doing fax and copying services for a nominal fee.

• The library's virtual Summer Reading Program starts June 1 and each week will have a theme. Get details and sign up online.

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