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Region’s libraries taking different approaches when it comes to reopening

Bedford County libraries begin in-person events while Roanoke Co. libraries remain virtual

BEDFORD COUNTY, Va. – Local libraries continue moving cautiously forward as they reopen.

The pace depends upon where the library is located.

Some are only offering virtual and curbside services while others, like the ones in Bedford County, have been open for weeks and are preparing for another milestone, in-person events.

Bedford County opened its libraries for curbside service on May 18 and opened their doors June 1.

Whether it’s social distancing signs, plastic dividers protecting employees or disabled computers to create distance, Bedford County libraries look different from before.

Jenifer Golston, the branch manager at the Moneta Smith Mountain Lake Library told 10 News that virtual programs were fun, but she can’t deny how happy she is to start in-person activities.

“There’s nothing quite like the interaction with the audience to make the program better and we’ve missed that, we’ve missed our regulars, we’ve missed our events, we’ve just missed everybody,” said Golston.

Upcoming events include the Mill Mountain Zoo bringing animals to the different Bedford County library branches.

To make sure health guidelines are met, you need to register for events online.

If you don’t want to go inside yet, the libraries will still offer pick-up services.

Roanoke County is taking a different approach when it comes to reopening libraries.

Director of Library Services Shari Henry told 10 News they are busy revamping their branches and looking at other library models to figure out the best way to invite the community back safely.

Libraries in Roanoke County started curbside service more than a week ago.

Right now, library staff are sorting and sanitizing returns and are working to add shields and 6-feet floor markers in every building.

Since the start of the pandemic, libraries in the county moved as much as possible online, including the summer reading program. Despite being online, this year’s program will make a difference.

“After a certain amount of books are read, the friends of the library have agreed to donate $1,000 to Feeding America. We just know there’s a lot of people who have hit hard times during this pandemic and we’re very very excited,” Henry said.

The goal number for that donation has not yet been announced.


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