Cook Memorial Library Re-Opens under Grab-n-Go Model

LA GRANDE – Cook Memorial Library reopens under a new Grab-n-Go model with new hours and limited capacity on Monday, October 19. Library Take-Out (pickup at the door) and Library @ Your Door (delivery to homebound patrons) options will remain available.

“With a wide variety of safety protocols in place, we are  confident that we can expand services on a limited basis while keeping both our staff and community healthy and safe,” said Library Director Kip Roberson. ”We recognize that there may be folks in our community who are not able to access our resources digitally, so we felt it was important to offer some in-person  browsing and computer access hours to better meet the needs of our community.”  

Patrons will be entering the building for the first time since March 17th and they will notice the library looks a bit different from what they remember. “The most visible changes will be COVID-related ones,” said Roberson. “We have moved most of the seating, tables, toys, and even the rocking carrot to storage in the community room to discourage patrons from doing what we’ve long encouraged them to do…sit, relax, enjoy a book and a cup of coffee. It’s heartbreaking to all of us that, for now, the library cannot be that comfortable community gathering spot.”

As with all public places, face masks and physical distancing is mandatory at the library too. Face masks are required for anyone 5 years of age or older and masks must be worn properly, covering both the nose and mouth.  The library will provide a face mask for anyone who may visit without one. Patrons who would prefer not to wear a face mask will be offered Library Take-Out as their alternative to entering the building as the safety of other patrons and staff is paramount. Hand sanitizing stations are available at the main entrance and all exits.

Building capacity will be limited to 20 patrons at any one time. Initially, library staff will be monitoring the comings and goings of patrons and managing the building occupancy manually. The library plans to implement building occupancy management technology before Thanksgiving; this technology will automatically regulate the building capacity by displaying the words “enter” or “do not enter” on a monitor at the main entrance. “Maybe at first, because patrons are excited to get back inside the library, the building may reach capacity and patrons may be asked to wait outside,” said Roberson, “but once the novelty of the library being open again wears off, I don’t anticipate patrons having to wait outside that often.”

Browsing time will be limited to 30 minutes per visit, while computer usage will be limited to 60-minute sessions. With only 4 public computers available for use at this time, patrons will be required to have a reservation; reservations can be made by calling the library or online thru the library’s website at www.CookMemorialLibrary.org.

Library hours will be as follows:

•    Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 10:00-11:00am (older adults & at-risk) 11:00am-5:30pm (general public) 

•    Wednesday  Noon-7:30pm

Library Take-Out pickup hours will remain the same at 10:00am-Noon and 4:00-6:00pm Monday thru Friday. For homebound patrons, Library @ Your Door delivery service is available; call the library for details.

Patrons may notice other changes that have been made to improve access and visibility of the library’s collections – young adults once again have their own space, audiobooks are easier to find and browse, and the large print collection is now at eye-level, eliminating the need for stepstools. 

“In spite of the necessary COVID changes, we’ve done our best to re-create a library space that remains inviting and friendly to our patrons,” Roberson stated. “We’ve missed seeing and interacting with our patrons these past few months and now that we are reopening, we want everyone to feel as welcome as possible. 

For more information about the library re-opening, go to cookmemoriallibrary.org.