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RI libraries starting to offer contactless, curbside pick-up

West Bay

CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — Some libraries in Rhode Island are starting to open their doors, somewhat, to book lovers once again.

The Cranston Public Library began offering contactless, curbside pick-up on Monday after doing a trial run last week.

Library Director Ed Garcia said while the library has been closed to in-person browsing, it’s been operating online for the past few months, adding that his staff has risen to the challenge.

“We’re used to doing programming that’s usually in person, so being able to see them do story times live and the other programs we’ve been doing has been really great,” he said.

Garcia said he anticipates keeping the virtual programming in place, even though now people will be able to hold books in their hands again.

You can call or email the library to find your materials, or just fill out an online form, according to Garcia. He said the service will allow you to request up to five materials at a time from within Cranston’s own supply of books. Typically, libraries from within the state can loan from each other, but the service is paused right now due to the pandemic.

The library is also offering printing services, and you can pick up 10 pages for free.

Garcia said limited access to their computers will be a big part of what Cranston libraries will be able to offer when Rhode Island moves to Phase 2.

“Because we know there are people in the community that don’t have access at home, that need to file for unemployment, for example, or job applications, or [print] other important documents,” he explained.

Not all computers would be available, as patrons would need to practice social distancing. Garcia said a time limit would probably be enforced as well.

In Phase 2, you can expect to be let back into the building, though Garcia said it will mostly be for pick-ups and limited browsing. He anticipates that stacks will be closed, in addition to seating areas.

Plans have been developed in consultation with the Library Board of Trustees and Mayor Allan Fung and are based on guidance from Gov. Gina Raimondo and the Rhode Island Office of Library and Information Services Task Force on Reopening Libraries.

In Cranston, contactless pick-up will be available at all locations except the Arlington branch, and library leaders say due to limited staffing, you might have to leave a message.

Cranston Public Library: Request materials, printing or schedule a pick-up »

Warwick Public Library Director Christopher La Roux says contactless curbside pick-up for materials also began in the city on Monday. Patrons can call the library at (401) 739-5440 or use the online order form.

Curbside pick-up will be available at the Central Library Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. and at the Apponaug, Conimicut and Norwood branches on Wednesdays from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Help from a librarian is available by phone, email and chat on weekdays from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Call, chat on the website, or write to reference@warwicklibrary.org.

Delivery of library materials by mail is available for Warwick residents who are homebound due to illness or physical challenges.

Warwick Public Library: Curbside pick-up FAQs »

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