Hickory Flat Library 1

Sequoyah Regional Library System Director Anita Summers at the Hickory Flat Library.

The Sequoyah Regional Library System has added contact-free pick-up to its list of community services offered during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Sequoyah Sidewalk Service, which launched on May 18, allows readers to request and borrow titles from their local library as part of a phased reopening of library buildings. Books, movies, CDs and other materials can be requested either online or by phone, and a library staff member will contact cardholders to schedule a pick-up time when their order is ready. Once an appointment is made, orders are placed near the library’s entrance and sorted by the recipient’s first four letters of their last name and the last four numbers of their library card. Those with limited mobility may contact library staff to request delivery of their order to their vehicle in the library parking lot. Appointments for contact-free sidewalk service may be scheduled Monday through Friday, with certain libraries also offering Saturday pick-up hours. Visitors to the library are asked to keep the safety of others in mind and practice safe social distancing when borrowing materials.

“Our community has given incredible support to our digital collection of eBooks, audiobooks and eMagazines during this period of social distancing,” Sequoyah Regional Library System Executive Director Anita Summers said in a news release. “With our new sidewalk service, we’re ecstatic to expand their options even further by reuniting readers with our physical collection of library materials.”

Earlier in May, the library system reopened its outdoor drop-off boxes and have been accepting the return of borrowed materials without charging overdue fees.

Launching alongside the sidewalk service is a reader’s advisory program called, “What to Read Next,” where visitors to the library’s website can click “Contact Us” to receive personalized reading recommendations from a staff members. This is part of an ongoing series of socially-distanced and remote services offered by the library system in response to COVID-19. Throughout the pandemic, the Sequoyah Regional Library System continued to connect with its users through its official website, as well as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. Analytic data has shown that thousands of community members have engaged with the library system’s virtual programming schedule, which includes live Facebook storytimes, DIY crafting projects, health and wellness exercises and resume writing tips. The heightened demand for virtual services has driven many cardholders to Sequoyah’s e-Library for all-ages eBooks, audiobooks and eMagazines. Between April 21 and May 21, the library system saw a 45.5% increase in eBook and audiobook usage compared to the same period in 2019, with over 15,400 total checkouts. The total number of eBook and audiobook holds increased by 82.1%, while the number of unique users surpassed 3,000 (a 35.2% increase compared to the same period in 2019). Those looking to take advantage of online services without a reliable internet connection can visit their local library, where free Wi-Fi is available from the parking lot. Users can apply for a library card, renew an existing card, set up an account for eBooks and request other assistance from an SRLS staff member via the system’s official website or on social media.

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