The Marshall Public Library is starting a new chapter in its history ... one involving the social distancing and disinfecting of books to continue serving its patrons along with curbside check out.

With the closure of the library due to COVID-19, the library has introduced curbside pickup of library materials. Individuals with library cards may log onto their account by visiting the library’s website and reserve items for check out.

“We are a staff of readers and could not imagine spending this kind of time on our hands without having a library book,” Library Director Anna Lane said. “We want to serve people’s needs along with other libraries across the nation.”

Within 24 hours, library staff will collect the requested materials and notify the patrons of availability for pickup. Curbside service is available Monday-Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Individuals experiencing computer difficulties are encouraged to call the library and request books over the phone. Library card holders also have 24/7 access to e-books and audio books via the OverDrive/Libby app.

When items are being picked up, patrons are asked to park on the east side of the library (the same side as the book drop). Then the patrons call the library and let the staff know they are there to collect the books. A hint about the make, model and color of the vehicle is helpful to the staff members.

Items can then be returned to either the book drop during the day or after hours. Items can also be returned when getting the next batch of books.

For those concerned about germs, the materials are being sanitized and placed in a ‘book time out’ for a period of time before they can be checked out again. Due to this process, all items may not be readily available due to the sanitation procedures. The books also practice social distancing from each other during this time period.

For individuals who do not currently have library cards, the library is offering an over-the-phone application process. Individuals may call to apply for a library card, and after presenting a valid Texas driver’s license or state ID curbside, individuals will receive their library card and may begin reserving books or accessing OverDrive. Library card applications may be picked up curbside upon request and are located on the library’s website. These may be completed and returned curbside.

Lane said since the first day of implementing curbside check out the staff has seen an increase in service each day.

Another service the library is showcasing is wifi that is accessible from the library parking lot. The password to the wifi can be secured by calling the library during normal business hours.

Library staff will continually update and disseminate information via the library’s website and Facebook page in an effort to meet the informational, educational, and recreational needs of the community.

To embrace the new world of social distancing accompanied with technology, the library is offering ‘lightbulb learning’ each day at 9:09 a.m. and 9:09 p.m. on their Facebook page.

When residents and patrons see the lightbulb symbol they can expect a link to a story, a craft, a science experiment, song and more — all related to the fun or factual significance of the day.

“It’s not earth shattering but it is something we hope can provide some fun and education,” Lane said.

The library is located at 300 S. Alamo Boulevard and can be reached via website at www.marshallpubliclibrary.org or via phone at 903-935-4465.