OTTUMWA — The Ottumwa Public Library is preparing to reopen. But, as with many reopenings, it won’t be an immediate return to normal.
Library Director Sonja Ferrell said staff will return Monday, and the library will begin drive-up service later in the week. Those details are not yet finalized. The library will accept reference calls during normal hours via phone, email and Facebook.
Ferrell said in a statement the step was not taken lightly, and followed discussions with the library board, local health officials and city leadership, and the library staff itself.
“Our priority is to begin the reopening process with the health and safety of our patrons and staff being the paramount goal,” she wrote.
Ferrell called the steps being taken next week Phase 1 of a three-step plan for reopening.
“The Ottumwa Public Library understands that many community members feel stressed and worried about the threat of COVID-19, and we will do what it takes to remove any library stresses from that list,” the statement said. “If you have materials due and don’t feel you can get them back in time simply call us and we will work with you. All materials currently checked out have had their due date extended to May 15.”
The library closed in mid-March as the COVID-19 pandemic reached Iowa. That initial announcement said the closure would last through April 13. It was later extended to April 30.