Boothbay Harbor Memorial Library will reopen in October amid new COVID-19 health regulations. The library closed in March due to the pandemic and, in July, began curbside book lending. But for those anxious to browse the library’s selection, the staff is busy preparing for a limited number of visiting patrons in mid-October.
“This is a small step toward hopefully getting back to a normal schedule,” Librarian Joanna Breen said.
During the closure, the staff conducted a patron survey which rated browsing as the favorite activity. Beginning Oct. 13, as many as five patrons can spend up to 30 minutes browsing inside the library. “They will be able to come in and browse,” Breen said. “Visits will be limited due to capacity restrictions. We are excited about once again interacting with our patrons. It’s really the best part of working here, talking with them about what they want to read.”
During the curbside service, patrons would either call or email a book request. Breen and new Assistant Librarian Harolyn Hylton found the books and coordinated a pickup for literature-starved patrons. Hylton previously served as the children’s librarian and was promoted after Desiree Scorcia’s departure in June. During the closure, a library rearrangement took place and Breen and Hylton are ready to help patrons find books in the new setup.
“She’s really blown my socks off,” Breen said. “Harolyn has been great to work with rearranging the library and will be a big help in assisting patrons when they return.”
Hylton was born in Jamaica and lived in Massachusetts for over 30 years. She moved to Boothbay Harbor in January 2018. As assistant librarian, she is responsible for coordinating volunteers, cataloging books and finding selections for patrons, and she continues organizing the children’s program.
“We’re super lucky to have her. She keeps things moving beautifully, and has really been great in the curbside pickup,” Breen said.
As the library reopens, there will be a special fall event, “Booktober Fest,” a giant outdoor sale featuring used and withdrawn library books. The event is scheduled for the weekend leading up to Indigenous People’s Day. On Oct. 9, “Booktober Fest” runs from 2 to 4 p.m., and on Oct. 10, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Anyone buying $6 or more in books will be entered into a Footbridge Brewery raffle for two free growlers.