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Lewis and Clark Library resumes limited in-person services

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Posted at 6:37 PM, Jun 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-22 20:50:53-04

HELENA — The Lewis and Clark Library has resumed some in person services.

The Library opened their new Capitol Branch on 1609 11th Ave. Monday morning to eager patrons excited to see the new building and get some new books.

The new branch is open Monday through Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and Sundays from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

People are able to come in and browse the collection, but there are several COVID protocols in place.

“We are asking all patrons who enter the library to be wearing a mask. If you do not have your own mask we will provide one,” said Library Director John Finn. “We have hand sanitizing stations set up through the library and we’re limiting the use of the Capitol Branch to only four patrons at a time.”

There are no public computers, seating or restrooms available at the temporary branch. People are asked to be quick about their visit to the Capitol Branch out of courtesy to all of the library patrons that want to use their services.

Even with the restrictions, Finn says he’s happy to see the return of more library services to the community.

“We’re really excited to allow patrons a chance to actually browse a shelf of books, rather than just a catalog,” said Finn. “We have 17,000 items on the shelf right now which is a pretty big collection for a branch library, and it’s really wanted material.”

The Capitol Branch is serving as a temporary home for the library in Helena city limits while a major remodel is being done on the main building.

“Since there has been no patrons or staff in the building due to COVID, the construction is way ahead of schedule,” said Finn. “Our furniture order is on schedule though. Our construction will be done long before our new stacks and furniture are in place, so we’re still probably looking at an opening of mid September.”

The Augusta Branch will continue with curbside pickup until the middle of July. When the branch does return to limited services, the hours will be: Sunday 1-5 p.m., Monday 3-7p.m., Tuesday -Thursday 10 a.m.-12 p.m. and 1-5 p.m.. There will be a limit of 3 patrons in the library at one time.

One public computer will be available at the Augusta branch with a strict 30-minute time limit. Keyboard, mouse, and computer station completely cleaned after each use by staff.

East Helena will be open: Monday 11a.m.-6p.m.: 11-1p.m. Computer appts; 2-6p.m. browsing and curbside. Tuesday 11a.m.-6p.m.: 11-3p.m. browsing and curbside; 4-6p.m. Computer appts. Wednesday 11a.m.-6p.m.: 11-1p.m. Computer appts; 2-6p.m. browsing and curbside. Thursday 11a.m.-6p.m.: 11-3p.m. browsing and curbside; 4-6p.m. Computer appts. Friday 11a.m.-5p.m.: 11-1p.m. Computer appts; 2-5p.m. browsing and curbside.

Only 3 patrons will be allowed in the East Helena building at a time and they are required to wear masks in order to enter the library. If a patron does not have a mask, the library will provide one.

The Lincoln Branch Library will be open for browsing Monday-Wednesday from 3-6 p.m. and Thursday – Saturday from 12-3 p.m. One individual or family of up to three will be allowed in the building at a time. Curbside holds pickup and Library Pack pickup will also be offered during these times. Patrons will be able to make an appointment to use a public computer for 30 minutes but must make an appointment 24 hours in advance.

One computer will be available at the Lincoln Branch for two 30 minute appointments Monday-Saturday. Appointments are Monday -Wednesday, 2:15 and 6:15 p.m., and Thur-Sat, 11:15 and 3:15 p.m. The following library resources will be unavailable during this stage of reopening: The community room, reading nook, children’s play space, teen zone, and certain circulating materials, such as puppets.