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EBR library system to resume some services Monday, still no opening date for River Center Branch

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BATON ROUGE- Locals can finally get fresh entertainment material from Capital Area libraries as they reopened their doors on Monday for the first time in nearly two months.

On June 1, the same day Gov. John Bel Edwards announced the state would move forward with 'Phase Two' of reopening, the libraries of East Baton Rouge Parish opened after weeks of being closed due to COVID-19.

By 2 p.m. on opening day, the main branch at Goodwood saw around 150 people, all anxious to do what they have not been able to for weeks.

"They're so excited to be able to use computers, to just come in and get fresh material," Assistant Director Mary Stein said.

Stein says the internet access has been one of the most missed library activities during the shutdown as several members of the community do not have computers or internet access at home.

To cater to those without easily accessible technology, computers are back up and running. Due to social distancing concerns, there are only 20 available computers and they can all be reserved in advance.

Besides having to wear a mask, there are a few other changes to the typical library experience.

"Those of us who love to browse and pick up books and decide whether or not we want it, we're needing to step back from that just a little bit," Stein said.

Books are not to be touched, and if you'd like to check out a book, an employee will fetch it for you.

As for book returns, it will be a few days before they are put back out on the shelves.

"We're even quarantining the books. As you return them, we're quarantining the books and the DVDs for three days," Stein said.

All East Baton Rouge Parish libraries will be open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.

The River Center branch downtown is expected to open it's doors later this month. 

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