The Bellevue Public Library will resume curbside circulation services on Monday, May 18.
The library briefly offered curbside services in March before Gov. Brad Little’s isolation order shuttered operations. Now, as restrictions begin to relax, librarian Kristin Gearhart—who is running a one-woman-show in Bellevue—is preparing to get the ball rolling again.
That is not to imply that she has been idle these past two months. To the contrary, Gearhart has been extremely active online, regularly posting story time readings, activities, crafts and more on the library’s Facebook page.
“A lot of children come into the library normally, and now—not knowing what’s going on and not being able to venture out—I just thought it might be nice for them to see a friendly face,” Gearhart said. “I’m trying to keep the community involved and let them know we’re still here for them, even if it’s not in the usual sense. We’re still around and still trying to reach out.”
Patrons will still not be allowed to enter the library physically next week, but they can access the card catalogue online through the library’s website, bellevue.lili.org, and request holds by phone at 208-788-4503 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gearhart will pull the items, check them out and place them outside for collection. She is also now accepting returns and sanitizing the book drop every day. Returned items will be quarantined for five days before becoming available to the public once again.
“We did it pre-isolation and the community participated. It worked out really well. I had a good flow of people coming for pick-up and checkout,” Gearhart said.
Based on that response and her Facebook traffic, it seems likely curbside pick-up will be popular again.
“We are not opening the library to the public yet, but I’m working with the city of Bellevue and we’re trying to figure out how that’s going to happen,” she said. “Right now, I’m following in the footsteps of the Community and Hailey Public libraries, who’ve already started curbside.”
The Bellevue Public Library is looking to the future, and Gearhart is preparing for a digital summer reading program, bonus offerings for children and more. The best way to keep up to date with the library as things develop is by checking its Facebook page.
“This has all been a bit of a challenge,” Gearhart said. “Librarians, teachers and all sorts of people have had to think outside of the box. When the world’s shut down, we still want to be able to teach our children, keep their minds active. It’s about having kids and families know that people are still there for them. We live in a great community. Things are going to look totally different from what we’re used to, but our community is still our community.”