Westlake Library

The Westlake Library reopened June 23 after closing for several weeks due to COVID-19.

The Franklin County Public Library branches in Rocky Mount and Westlake reopened June 23. Current hours are Tuesdays, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Thursdays, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Curbside pickup service continues at both locations on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

To return items, book drops are available. The Rocky Mount book drop is available at all hours. Westlake’s book drop is open Monday through Friday only.

Franklin County Public Library Director Alison Barry said she felt the June 23 reopening day went well.

“We were as excited to see our patrons as they were to see us,” Barry said.

Approximately 250 patrons visited the Rocky Mount branch and about 40 visited the Westlake branch on the first day.

“A lot of regulars showed up,” said May Nickolopoulos, assistant library director. “We have the nicest patrons.”

Barry said she was pleasantly surprised at how many people have been using the curbside pickup service.

“It’s worked out very well, and the patrons have been appreciative,” she said.

One change for the library was transitioning to a new computer software system that will save the county $15,000 annually. Barry said having the library closed to the public enabled the implementation of the programming to be moved up.

She said the staff has spent a lot of time training and experimenting with the new system, which went live June 19. The transition has gone well and that the library’s limited hours has eased the process.

Another new change is a customer-friendly circulation desk that was installed in the children’s department at the Rocky Mount location. Funded in part by Friends of the Library, the desk enables staff to better serve its young patrons.

Children’s Librarian Dorothy Anderson said she is eager for children to participate in this year’s summer learning program that begins July 1. The program includes prizes; the theme is “Dig Deeper: Read, Investigate, Discover!”

Barry said the library is working to provide a safe environment for its patrons, staff and volunteers. When using library facilities, patrons are asked to follow the COVID-19 public health recommendations by Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s office, the Virginia Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control, including wearing face coverings and social distancing.

Library facilities are not open for meetings, gatherings of book clubs or other groups, and new meeting room reservations are not being taken at this time.

A limited number of public computers are available for 30 minutes per user. Physical distancing and disinfecting requirements have reduced availability.

All in-person classes, events and programs, including story hours, toddler times and all other programs for children and adults, are canceled this summer.

The Bookmobile will not operate this summer.

During the time of the library’s branch closures, fines for overdue materials have not accrued; however, the due date for all materials is now July 1.

For more information about the Franklin County Public Library, visit library.franklincountyva.gov.