On July 1st, the Kegoayah Kozga Library in Nome will reopen to the public, after a year of providing digital books and other services online.
During the past year, while the Covid-19 pandemic caused a worldwide shutdown, the Nome library was busy getting virtual books into the hands of interested patrons. Readers were given the opportunity to download online books through Alaska Digital Library, while online events such as zoom story hours and author visits kept the library alive in a virtual space. To continue checking out physical books at the Kegoayah Kozga Library, staff organized a curbside pickup. Library Director, Marguerite LaRiviere explains this process:
“We put it out there that you could either email Janet who is the library assistant or you could call the library. Then you would pick whatever books you wanted and Janet would then pick a time and we would put the books out on our bookrack at the curb.”– Marguerite LaRiviere
Since the pandemic started, Kegoayah Kozga Library staff have been working on gathering personal protective equipment, such as hands-free hand sanitizer stands. Now that they have gathered such equipment, LaRiviere said the Kegoayah Kozga Library is ready to reopen with safety precautions and limited hours in effect.
“I am happy to announce that we will be opening, a shortened day, but we will be opening July 1st. And we’ll be opening for four hours a day from noon until four in July and in August, and then we’ll just see how things go. We expect to expand those hours definitely by October.”
In order to pick up books from the library next month, masks will be required, and capacity is limited to fifteen patrons at a time. The amount of time patrons can spend on library computers will also be limited. As part of their new policies, LaRiviere said Kegoayah Kozga Library is also forgiving fines for overdue books brought in before October 1st.
“On a happy note, a lot of libraries do once a year a “bring it back week” where you can bring back an overdue book and there will be no fines. So we are going to extend that. July, August, and September will all be bring it back free without any fines. So, people have three months to bring back their books.”
Those next three months at the Kegoayah Kozga library will be busy: The library’s summer reading program, which passes out craft kits to kids via curbside delivery, is already in full swing. LaRiviere says her staff is looking forward to welcoming back patrons, even in a limited capacity.
“It feels like a privilege to me, really, that people want to be back in the library. We miss our patrons. Whenever we have done the zoom meetings, it’s really been lovely to see people’s faces again. We want to get back to normal as quickly as possible. So, we appreciate your patience.”
Starting July 1st, the Kegoayah Kozga Library in Nome opens its doors to the public, fifteen people at a time.
Image at top: Richard Foster Building. Photo by Emily Russell, KNOM.