October 22, 2021

Libraries in area reopen Monday, curbside, for readers

S.N. Briere/ staff reporter

Nancy Nivison of Cortlandville was the first in line to drop off and pick up books from the Cortland Free Library. The library was one of several in the area to open Monday for curbside pickup after closing to the public because of the coronavirus.

Nancy Nivison of Cortlandville got out of her car Monday, grabbed the tan canvas bag from the back seat of her car and walked over to the large drop off bin outside the Cortland Free Library’s Court Street entrance.

She began taking two to three books out at a time and dropping them in the bin. She had 14 to return.

“I’ve had these for three months,” she said, noting the closure of the library because of the coronavirus pandemic as the reason for waiting to return them so for so long.

The library has allowed people to drop off books they’ve had while the library was closed and those books, once taken out of the box go into quarantine for three days before they are put back on the shelves, said Library Director Jen Graney.

But Nivison was also there to pick up four more books. In fact, she was the first appointment of the day for the library, which was one of several libraries in the county to open Monday for pick up services only, the first time in three months the library has been open due to the coronavirus.

“My genre is mysteries,” she said. “My husband does mysteries, thrillers and suspense.”

Nivison, an avid reader who would visit the library once a week or more, is happy the library is back to lending out books, even if it’s not open to the public, yet.

“The library is the best,” she said. “If I could go to the library I’d probably get more books.”

But she was happy with the ones she was able to get, including another one by author Joanne Fischmann, who uses the pen name Joanne Fluke.

She writes a series of cozy mysteries about a small-town baker named Hannah Swensen. Nivison said there are about 25 books in the series — the one she picked up Monday was her 25th to read.

Graney said the library started the service Monday by having people who had books on hold before the virus come to pick theirs up first, by appointment only.

Access library collections

Check websites for details on curbside pickup and how each library will handle borrowing:

  • Cortland Free Library in Cortland: www. cortlandfreelibrary.org
  • Southworth Library in Dryden: southworthlibrary.org
  • Groton Public Library in Groton: grotonpubliclibrary.net
  • Lamont Memorial Library in McGraw: www.lamontlibrary.org
  • Peck Memorial Library in Marathon: peckmemoriallibrary.org
  • Phillips Free Library in Homer: www. phillipsfreelibrary.org
  • Kellogg Free Library in Cincinnatus: kelloggfreelibrary.org

“It went really well,” she said. “Everyone showed up for their appointments. People are certainly calling today making appointments for this week.”

Phillips Free Library in Homer also opened Monday, with 22 people stopping by to pick up books by 3 p.m, said Director Priscilla Berggren-Thomas.

That library is also doing pickups by appointment only and when books are dropped off, Berggren-Thomas will take them out and put them in quarantine for a week, then another person will take them out after a week and put them back in circulation.

“So that we don’t have any cross-contamination,” she said.

She said people should call the library at 607-749-4616 about the service.

Both directors said people also must remember to return the books they have to the library they got them from. The inter-library loan system, which allows books from one library to go to another for use, hasn’t restored service. Both library directors also said the plan is to do pickups by appointment only for at least the next month, while looking at letting small numbers of people back in eventually.

“Even after that, we will still offer curbside for people who are concerned and don’t want to be out and about, whether they are a vulnerable population or not,” BerggrenThomas said.