Shelton’s Plumb Library reopens after COVID outbreak

Photo of Brian Gioiele

SHELTON — The Plumb Memorial Library has reopened more than a month after several in its community were affected by the coronavirus.

Patrons arrived to peruse the library’s collections starting at 10 a.m. The library will be open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Curbside pickup will be available Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“It was great to see the patrons, and I think they were very happy to be able to visit and pick up books to read once again,” Marcia Austin, the Huntington Library Branch director who has been filling in for Plumb Memorial Library Director Joan Stokes, who was hospitalized with COVID last month.

“We've been almost as busy as we normally world be,” Austin added about Tuesday’s reopening.

Numerous positive tests among staff and the death of longtime custodian, 59-year-old Gregory Sember, forced city officials to close the city’s main library in January. Stokes, who was hospitalized for 12 days with COVID-19, is home but not cleared to return to work as of yet.

“(COVID) decimated us,” Stokes said.

Sember died Jan. 20 at Griffin Hospital from COVID-related complications, city administrative assistant Jack Bashar said. Bashar said Sember worked in the city’s maintenance department since October 2010.

Rules for the reopening include inside visits being limited to 30 minutes, and masks covering the mouth and nose must be worn at all times for those 3 and older.

There are no restrooms available. No computer use, scanning or faxing services are being offered at this time, and water fountains are for filling water bottles only. Library staff are also asking residents to limit the number of family members during a visit.

Book and media return bins will remain locked until staff can process the items already locked inside. However, most items should not be due back until April and no fines are being charged.

“We ask all of our patrons and visitors to please continue to have patience; several of our staff are still recovering from COVID and we are still catching up with work from December,” the library website states, adding that holds and requests are still suspended.