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Long Island public libraries reopening for curbside services after coronavirus lockdown

Plainview-Old Bethpage Library patron Linda Brawerman of Plainview

Plainview-Old Bethpage Library patron Linda Brawerman of Plainview picks up library books curbside. Credit: Leeanna Rashty

On Tuesday, Linda Brawerman felt life was finally returning to normal when she was able to stock up on something she loves and says she’d “go crazy” without: books from the Plainview-Old Bethpage Library.

The public library is among a few on Long Island that are slowly but surely reopening operations to the public by making available curbside and drive-up pickups, quarantining returned books and other items lent out as a safety precaution and requiring patrons and library personnel to wear masks.

“The curbside pickup is fabulous. It feels like you’re coming back to life," Brawerman, a Plainview resident and retired office manager, said after picking up five books from the library on Tuesday.

The Plainview-Old Bethpage Library began offering drive-up pickups on Monday of "whatever we’ve got in the building," said library director Gretchen Browne. Besides books, that includes CDs, magazines, Roku streaming digital players, e-readers and crafts for children to do at home. “We’re happy to offer whatever we can.”

Browne said about 50 patrons had already used the library’s pickup services by Tuesday and about 150 appointments had been scheduled for the rest of the week. To participate, patrons first use the library's website to reserve items and call to make an appointment for pickup — from +11 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays with other hours available by request.

“It’s going really well,” Browne said. “We’re operating with a 50% staff and they were really eager to come in.”

Lindenhurst Memorial Library started offering curbside pickup on Monday for items reserved from its online catalog, requested by phone or email, and even by using the online chat feature on the library’s website. Not sure what you want to read, listen to, or watch? Staffers will curate “Librarian Specials” collections for you based on things you like, using an online form. When items are ready, patrons are notified by phone to choose a two-hour window for drive-through pickup in the parking lot.

“Library Takeout” is also being offered by the Syosset Public Library with items being placed on hold with a library card through the online catalog or by phone. Patrons will be called when their pickup is ready, they are to call the library when they’re outside the building, then they go to the door to get their bag of items.

As for returned items, both Plainview-Old Bethpage and Lindenhurst libraries said such materials are being "quarantined" for 72 hours before they are made available for other patrons to borrow, per recommendations from national and state library associations.

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