Noel Wien Library narrows public interaction to Bookmobile outside building

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) The Noel Wien Library, in response to the coronavirus outbreak, has closed its doors and limited its public interactions to the Bookmobile, which is parked outside the library building’s front entrance.

The Bookmobile at Noel Wien Library will contact patrons when their hold items are available. (Alex Bengel/KTVF)

The transition began on March 18. Circulation Librarian Stephanie Stucky said that since that time, 607 patrons have used the new services -- averaging about 76 a day. This represents a significant drop from the 1500 who would visit the library during normal operating procedures.

According to Stucky, the staff of the library has not been forced to reduce hours so much as shift them around as a result of the transition, with some employees choosing to reduce their work hours.

According to Wendy Zimmerman, Circulation and Bookmobile Services Manager, “We’re not allowing patrons onto the Bookmobile. It’s really just a place where people can pick up things that they want to borrow from the library, that they’ve already placed on hold to borrow from the library.”

Zimmerman said the Bookmobile is “acting more like a food truck.”

Meanwhile, the Bookmobile’s traditional service of mobile book delivery is still being carried out in an alternative way. "We do have some homebound patrons that we are still delivering things [to] with another vehicle to their homes and those things are just being dropped off outside and patrons are returning their things in a bag that we pick up outside,” Zimmerman said.

Patrons with items to return are being advised to drop off materials at the usual book and video bins outside the library.

To receive materials from the library, patrons must put desired items from the library on hold, and they will be contacted when their holds are available at the Bookmobile. When hold items are declared available, they have already been checked out to the patron.

The Bookmobile operates between the hours of 11am and 5:30pm Monday through Friday and 11am-3pm Saturday.

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