Staff work hard to make public library visits safe, healthy, quick and enjoyable

Katie Fountain Contributing columnist



We are excited to announce that Quick Service will begin on Monday at all library locations!

Our staff is working extra hard to keep our community safe and healthy. This includes daily wellness checks for employees, increased cleaning of high-touch surfaces, social distancing in facilities, frequent hand-washing, providing hand sanitizer, and isolating returned library materials for 72 hours.

Our library staff is also wearing face coverings to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Any staff member in a public service area will wear a covering. They are also wearing coverings in staff-only areas if social distancing cannot be maintained. We wear our face coverings for our community. Patrons wishing to come into library facilities must wear a face covering. The face covering must stay on during the entire visit and cover your nose and mouth. This will help keep other patrons, our staff, and our families safe and healthy. We sincerely appreciate cooperation and patience in regards to face coverings and social distancing.

Quick services will include Express Checkout, independent computer appointments, virtual programs and our digital libraries. Express Checkout will continue to operate as it has since May 26. Patrons may place items on hold on your online account at We strongly recommend selecting items at your home library. Delivery of items from other locations will take extra time to receive. You’re also welcome to call your home library and give us a list of books you would like to read. We’ll pull them from the shelves for you! If you are feeling adventurous, give us a few hints about what you like to read and allow us to pull staff picks for you. We can also curate lists of read-alikes for you to consider. This is a great way to discover new authors!

After we pull your books, we will call you back and ask your permission to check them out to your account. Up to 10 items may be borrowed per card, per transaction. When you arrive at the library, call us and let us know you’re here for pick up. We will place your items on a table near the entrance for you to grab and enjoy. If you’re using the Lumberton Library, Express Pickup is in the garden side entrance. Read, return, repeat!

Independent computer use will be available by 30-minute appointments. Appointments are limited to a person per appointment per day. We have to keep the number of appointments, patrons and time allowed limited to follow social distancing. All stations will be spaced at least 6 feet apart. All equipment will be sanitized between appointments. If you need to print, please bring exact change or a check.

New children’s programs are added every week to our Facebook and/or YouTube channel. We’re reading tons of fairy tales and books with dragons to go along with our summer reading theme! Joseph hosts storytime in Spanish. A new STEM project is added every Monday at 3 p.m. Do you have a Lego lover at home? Build with us every Wednesday at 4 p.m. We have a lot of other ideas we are working on to bring our community fun programs to enjoy!

This is a great time to explore our digital libraries. Thousands of items are available to borrow for free on e-INC, NCKids Digital Library and NCLIVE. All you need is your library card. You don’t have a card? No worries, we can help you with that, too. The best way to enjoy e-INC and NCKids Digital Library is through the Libby app! The Libby app is a free download on your device’s app store. If you do not have a smart phone or tablet, you can still enjoy these libraries on your PC or other eReader. For more information or links to the libraries, visit If you need help getting started, call us or email [email protected]

Starting Monday, the libraries will expand our service hours. We’re trying to get back to as normal of a schedule as possible. All libraries will be open Monday through Friday. The hours will be: Lumberton, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Pembroke, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., closed for lunch from noon to 1 p.m.; St. Pauls, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., closed for lunch from noon to 1 p.m.; Maxton, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Fairmont, 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.; and Red Springs and Rowland, 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

We look forward to seeing more of our patrons starting next week! We wish you and your family happiness and health.

Katie Fountain is the director of the Robeson County Public Library.