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North Kingstown Free Library staff Tom Frawley, right, and Emily Goodman work in the library’s meeting room, where patrons now have access to computers, copiers, fax machines, printers, scanners, and notary services.

NORTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. —The North Kingstown Free Library began offering limited in-person services Wednesday, allowing up to four people at a time to enter the building and use some of its facilities for the first time since March.

“What we follow is the (Rhode Island Office of Library and Information Services) policies,” North Kingstown Free Library Youth Services Coordinator Jennifer Boetteger said. “They have set phases that we follow that follow the governor’s (guidelines) but it’s geared towards library services.”

In addition to the curbside pickup program the library has already been offering, limited usage of services such as printing, including mobile printing, copying, scanning, faxing, notary services and computers, which can be used for up to 20 minutes at a time. All can found within the library’s Meeting Room, which is the only room patrons are currently allowed to use, and the services currently will only be available Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays between 10 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.

As with any indoor location, masks are required to enter the library and people are asked to do their best to maintain the proper six feet social distancing guidelines still in place. Additionally, only four patrons are allowed to be in the room at a time, something which Boetteger said is due to their one person per 100 square feet guideline, and is done on a first come, first serve basis. Anyone waiting to enter the library will be asked to provide their name, phone number, vehicle description and a note on where they will be waiting so staff members can contact them when there is an open spot.

The library also strongly suggests bringing only one person per household and leaving promptly after finishing using their services so they can accommodate as many visitors as possible per day. 

While these services are currently limited, and will remain that way until cleared by OLIS, curbside pickup will remain  available Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and according to Boetteger, the service has continued to be a hit. 

“It’s gone very well,” Boetteger said. “As soon as the phones open, they are constantly ringing with people requesting books. The older people appreciate it (and) we’ve got a lot of parents calling in getting books for kids. Of course, they would prefer to come in and browse, but at this point we can’t yet.”

For those unfamiliar with library curbside pickup, guests call or message the library through their website, nklibrary.org, to pick their books or other media and then once all are ready, they set an appointment to come and pick them up outside, where a library staff member will take their name and bring them their order. Guests are allowed to put on hold and rent up to 10 items at a time.

While Boetteger says that as Youth Services Coordinator she doesn’t hear much from patrons as some other departments, there was certainly a level of excitement leading up to the first day of limited in-person services.

“We’ve already had a few calls come in asking exactly what they can do (service wise,” Boetteger said.

For anyone looking to contact the North Kingstown Free Library to book a pickup appointment or ask further questions, call them at (401) 294-3306 or visit their website nklibrary.org

Other area libraries are also beginning to expand some of their services. According to the OLIS database, the Davisville Free Library is offering both curbside and in-library pickup in addition to browsing, copying, printing and offering outside wi-fi. 

In South Kingstown, the Peace Dale Branch of the South Kingstown Public Library is offering all of the above services except for in-person pickup, which is expected to begin next week, while the Kingston Free and Robert Beverly Hale branches are offering only curbside pickup. Curbside pickup is available at Peace Dale Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., at Kingston Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and at Hale Monday through Wednesday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., with a maximum of five items at a time at all three locations.

In Narragansett, the Maury Loontjens Memorial Library began offering most of its services again on June 15, though the library itself still remains mainly closed to the public. Curbside pickup is available from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays.

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