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The increase in positive COVID-19 cases in Ward County and surrounding areas coupled with Gov. Doug Burgum’s announcement to move Ward County to the “moderate risk” level starting Sept. 25 has prompted the Minot Public Library to reduce its hours.
Starting the week of Sept. 27, the Library will be closed on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. The building will be open from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. – 7 p.m. on Monday and Wednesday and from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Curbside pick-up will be available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and the Library will continue to offer virtual programs on Facebook.
“Prior to the Library reopening in June, library staff and the Library Board developed a phased reopening plan based on the state’s risk levels,” Library Director Janet Anderson said. “When Ward County moved to a moderate risk last week, a reduction in hours was initiated based on this plan.”
Anderson said that while closing three days a week will allow for greater cleaning, disinfecting, and quarantining, the primary reason is to ensure that the library has staff available to serve the public.
“Compared to similar-sized libraries in North Dakota, MPL has been one of the few to have such long hours,” said Anderson.
Other than the Fargo Public Library, the Minot Public Library is the only larger-sized library to offer evening and weekend hours since reopening. Anderson said she felt it was important to offer hours for those who work during the day, but acknowledged that with at-risk staff and potential self-isolation situations the administration needed to look out for the well-being of library employees.
Due to the change in hours, the After School Teen Space will no longer be available. However, the Library has virtual programs for all ages including story times at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, STEAM activities on Tuesdays, teen activities on Thursdays, and adult crafts the second Wednesday of the month. Details for these can be found on the MPL calendar at www.minotlibrary.org and by joining live events on the Minot Public Library Facebook page. Supplies for these are available for free to anyone interested, though registration is required for teen and adult programs.
“It is our goal to keep our community engaged despite the challenges we face,” explained Anderson. “We want people to continue using the library even if that means downloading an eBook, taking a virtual class, checking out a laptop or picking up movies and board games curbside.”
Staff are available to assist patrons over the phone Monday through Saturday; masks are required when in the building. Please call the Library at (701) 852-1045 for more information.