The Du Quoin Library is open to the public once again.
"We've got it going," said Library Director Kristina Benson on Thursday. "And it's going OK."
The library is permitting 20 people inside at once, including two staffers on duty during the week and one staffer on duty Saturdays.
Saturday hours have temporarily been cut in half -- the library is open 9 a.m. to noon instead of until 3 p.m. This is because the solitary staffer on duty needs to occasionally use the restroom or get a drink of water, and there's no backup.
Plus, everyone in the library is masked, all the time.
So far, no one has been turned away at the door because the maximum occupancy was reached, Benson said. However, people have been turned away temporarily because they wanted a computer, and all the computers were occupied.
Most library patrons, however, are "in and out" quickly, Benson said; they pick up what they want and then leave again.
Moreover, the library staff is still offering curbside delivery Monday through Friday.
"Not everyone is comfortable coming into a building yet," Benson says.
Benson said although the interlibrary loans have restarted, not everything is back to normal.
"We're still getting in tubs of material," she added. Material that arrives at the Du Quoin Library is immediately placed on a "wait" shelf, where it sits for 72 hours so any live virus on it dies before it is sent out to a patron.
Also, the library had 31 pages of overdue items during the COVID-19 hiatus, and staffers have been busy calling people. Fines are being waived -- librarians just want the material back, and mostly they want to see people.
"We miss everybody," Benson said. "Come back and see us so we know you are OK."
The library has not resumed its popular programs, since there are frequently many more than 20 people who partake.