New Branch Manager April Becirovic puts away a book at the St. Clair Scenic Regional Library Thursday, May 11. Due to a large number of staff being quarantined, officials with the library have announced reduced hours for the Scenic Regional Library system. 

Due to ongoing staffing shortages related to illnesses, the COVID-19 virus and quarantines, all Scenic Regional Library branches will have new, reduced hours of operation, according to library officials. 

Beginning Monday, Nov. 30, all locations will be opened from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The libraries will be open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays. The libraries will be closed on Sundays. 

These reductions in hours will see the library branches operating about 45 hours per week rather than the previous 57-plus hours per week. 

The new service hours will not alter the library’s protocol when an employee at a branch tests positive for COVID-19. When a library employee tests positive, the branch is closed temporarily and other staff at the location are asked to quarantine. The closures ensure that enough time has passed for the virus, which researchers say can remain active on surfaces for several days, to die. 

Library officials also announced Monday that the Sullivan branch of the library system would be closed due to a staff member testing positive for COVID-19. The library is expected to reopen Tuesday, Dec. 1. 

The library has had six employees test positive for COVID-19 since March when the pandemic began. Dozens of employees have had to quarantine due to exposure either at work or outside of work. 

The new service hours will not result in any library staff having their hours reduced or being laid off, according to officials. The change will allow the library to cover fewer service hours with the same amount of staff, which will provide a buffer against staff call-ins due to illness and quarantines. 

The library board will revisit these new service hours at its regular meetings each month, beginning in January.