COVINGTON- The St. Tammany Parish Library announces opportunities for patrons to return and more fully enjoy our 12 branches, as most State and Parish-mandated COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.
“We are happy to resume some pre-COVID services and lift capacity limits. As we move forward, we will continue to evaluate operations and modify as-needed, based on our progress through this pandemic,” said Kelly LaRocca, Director of the St. Tammany Parish Library. “Our goal is to make library usage as easy and as safe as possible for our patrons as well as our employees. We appreciate the flexibility our patrons and our staff members have shown during these months. ”
The hours of operation for library branches remain as they have been since early March of 2021: large branches (Causeway, Covington, Madisonville, Mandeville, Slidell, and South Slidell) are open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., while small branches (Abita Springs, Bush, Folsom, Lacombe, Lee Road, and Pearl River) are open 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Patrons will notice a few changes to services that were put in place during COVID-19, while some services will remain. Circulation desk staff has resumed full-service checkout of items for all patrons. Capacity numbers, social distancing recommendations, mask mandates, and materials quarantines are no longer in place. All library branches will continue to provide sanitizing stations for patrons who wish to access hand sanitizer, masks, and alcohol wipes. The CDC does recommend that individuals who are unvaccinated continue to mask.
Patrons may notice less furniture in our branches and remaining social distancing stickers on the floors. While not required, social distancing is still encouraged, and we’ve cleared the way for what we call “brisk browsing” as we remain in Phase 3. Manipulatives, activity cubes, and our AWE Learning Stations in our Children’s areas remain covered and unavailable for use at this time. Library administration will reevaluate and update their availability in the early fall.
Meeting and study rooms are open. Study rooms are available on a first-come-first-serve basis in branches with study room availability. Meeting rooms have resumed pre-pandemic capacities. These capacities are available online by location. Reservations are required for the meeting rooms, and can be made online at www.sttammanylibrary.org/application-for-use-of-meeting-room.
Public computers are available for use. Reservations to use these computers at small branches will no longer be necessary. Computer use is limited to one-hour time slots, and some computers will remain shut down to continue to maintain distancing.
As things return to normal, patrons will see overdue fines and other library fees resume. Currently, all fines and fees, with the exception of replacement costs for lost items, remain suspended until June 30, 2021. Beginning July 1st, all items currently checked out and currently overdue will begin to accrue overdue fines. All items checked out on or after July 1st, will be subject to overdue fines if they are returned after the due date. Fees for faxes and replacement library cards also resume on July 1st. Replacement fees for long overdues — or items that have been out for more than 90 days — will be posted to patron accounts beginning July 1st. When long overdue items are returned, the replacement fees are waived and patrons are not charged.
Fines and fees are as follows:
Books, audiobooks, and CDs - 10 cents per day.
DVDs - 25 cents per day.
Interlibrary Loan late fees - $1.00 per day.
Downloadable items return automatically and don't accrue late fees.
The maximum late fee for an STPL item is $5.00.
Replacement library card - $3.00
Faxes – 10 cents per page
Copies – 10 cents per page
Color Copies – 50 cents per page
The following services implemented during COVID-19 will remain:
Virtual Programming: Programming will remain both virtual and in-person as it is now, during the Summer Reading Challenge, as well as going forward.
Wi-Fi in branch parking lots. While Wi-Fi was always available at our branches inside and outside pre-COVID, Federal CARES Act Funding made available through the State of Louisiana through the State Library of Louisiana in the summer of 2020, coupled with funding from the St. Tammany Library Foundation, presented the opportunity to boost Wi-fi capabilities so that anyone can access and utilize a strong Wi-fi signal from the parking lot of every branch.
Contactless curbside service will remain in place at all branches. Curbside service ends after sunset each day.
Instant Access library cards for St. Tammany residents are now permanent. Residents can apply for a card online and get instant access to on-line library materials. These cards can also be used for inside and curbside service. Apply here: www.sttammanylibrary.org/library-card-request .
Virtual Programming will continue. Going forward, patrons can expect a blend of virtual and in-person programming.
Patrons who have questions are encouraged to speak with staff at their local branches, or visit www.sttammanylibrary.org for complete information.