Lead city offices will open March 1

Sarah Shoop, Cyndie Harlan, and Katie Nebelsick are looking forward to welcoming patrons back to the Hearst Library on March 1. Pioneer photo by Wendy Pitlick

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LEAD — Following about a year of closure, Lead City Hall and the Phoebe Apperson Hearst Library will re-open March 1.

The library will have limited hours, and will operate on Mondays from 1-5 p.m., Wednesdays from 2-6 p.m., and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. On Thursdays the library will offer curbside pickup from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“We’re trying to accommodate people’s schedules with these hours,” said Library Director Cyndie Harlan.

During hours of operation, Harlan said hand sanitizer will be available at the front door for patrons to use when entering the library, and masks will be required at all times. The library will provide masks for patrons who do not have them.

Only five people will be allowed in the library at a time, and patrons are asked to restrict their browsing times to 30 minutes. Computer use will be available by appointment only and will be restricted to 15- or 30-minute sessions. Only one family will be allowed in the children’s library at a time, and children under 12 must be supervised by an adult. Families are asked to keep their browsing time in the children’s library to a 30-minute time frame.

Harlan cautioned parents that the limited staff is not able to sanitize the children’s library consistently throughout the day, so use of the downstairs space will carry some risk. The best time to visit the children’s library, she said, would be at the beginning of the day, since staff will thoroughly sanitize the facility every night.

Materials that have been returned will be placed in quarantine for a period of time before they are available to be checked out again. The library will also resume print, scan and fax services.

“We are very excited to welcome people back,” Harlan said, adding that the library will have a year’s worth of new releases available for checkout. “As long as people agree to do this safely, it’s going to be fantastic. We have done a really spectacular job of getting materials to people during the time that we’ve closed and we have definitely erred on the side of safety, which a lot of our patrons have thanked us for.”

Lead City Administrator Mike Stahl said City Hall will open March 1 with regular business hours — Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Patrons are still encouraged to use the utility bill drop box near the door, or utilize online bill pay options. For those who need to do business at City Hall, Stahl said masks will be required and available. Hand sanitizing stations will also be available. Only one patron at a time will be allowed in the building.

“We encourage everybody to not linger,” he said. “Do your business and please respect that we need to be moving on.”

Stahl said the city reserves the right to close at any time if the COVID-19 risk increases.

On March 16, 2020 Lead Mayor Ron Everett announced that City Hall and the Hearst Library would close due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Then on June 15 the library opened for curbside pickup, encouraging patrons to call in or use the library website to reserve materials. During its closure, the library also conducted virtual reading programs and book clubs.

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