Sally Barnes pic

Grangeville resident Sally Barnes was happy to get back to the library Thursday afternoon, June 18.

Maxed out on screen time and looking for a break? With restrictions for COVID-19 being lifted, libraries are reopening in local communities. Some changes will be in place, but the public will be able to resume accessing computers and information.

Within the Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines there are some shifts in operating hours, adjusted or reduced services available, extra sanitation measures, and social distancing to follow. Additionally, ValNet services are not available for personal delivery of books; other download services are ongoing. These new operating procedures will allow patrons to be safe while using their services and continue to help provide service for rural communities.


GRANGEVILLE – “We are looking forward to opening up to our community again,” said Grangeville Centennial Library (GCL) Director Heidi Brown. GCL will now be resuming regular hours from Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The public is welcome to come in and check out books during these times. “However,” Brown said, “The library asks that patrons come in with the purpose of using books or computers and not just to hang out for the day.”

There are several changes to the services available in the library. The number of people in the library will be limited, and each book that is returned will undergo sanitation. Computers and WIFI access will be set to a 45-minute slot based on availability. There are two computers and they will be sanitized by staff between uses. Except for Summer Reading, no other programs will be running in the library.

Brown said the library will stick to the guidelines set forth by the CDC: don’t come in if you are feeling sick; use masks, gloves, and other personal protective equipment; and keep six feet apart.


COTTONWOOD – “We serve just a small community,” said librarian Kathleen Steinke, “but we’re looking forward to resuming our activities.” Prairie Community Library operating hours have resumed to normal. It will now be open Thursdays 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Personal protective equipment like gloves and masks are required. The library asks that patrons are careful and try to keep a distance of six feet apart. Measures will be taken by staff to sanitize between readers. Storytime will also be resuming, with guidelines to keep children six feet apart.


WHITE BIRD – White Bird Community Library information was not available at press time. For information, contact


RIGGINS – Librarian Susan Hollenbeak said, “Things for the Salmon River Public Library are getting back to normal.” The library is now open 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Friday. The staff is asking everyone to wash their hands before visiting. Sanitizer will be available to the public. In order to comply with social distancing guidelines some computers will be closed.


KOOSKIA – “We are trying to keep a variety of options available,” said branch manager Dena Puderbaugh. Kooskia Community Library access is available by appointment. One person at a time is allowed for time slots of 20 minutes. Call and leave a message to reserve a time on Tuesday and Thursday from 3 to 6 p.m. Curbside service is available on Wednesday and Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Masks are required to enter the building and hand sanitizer must be used. Books that are turned in will be individually sanitized between users. For improved sanitation Puderbaugh added, “We ask that patrons have a purpose for being in the library and not be hanging out.” Contact areas will be sanitized after each visit, and public rest rooms are not available at this time.


ELK CITY – Volunteer Sue Phillips said there is a “great group of volunteers” who have been accomplishing the local work with the help of lead librarian Shelly McPherson. On June 3, the Elk City School and Community Library reopened. Summer hours are Tuesdays from 2 to 5 p.m. All services are continuing as usual with the exception of ValNet; however, returns for ValNet books are still accepted. Story time has also resumed with a few new measures for social distancing.

The Elk City Community Library is following the CDC guidelines, which are posted on the front of the building. Those who are not feeling well are asked to not enter. Books will also be quarantined for 72 hours and are sanitized with wipes.

The library will remain open all summer until closing the week of the county fair in August. It will reopen when school starts and then resume operating hours on Tuesdays, from 3:15 to 5 p.m.

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