Missoula's new public library breaks ground this spring

MISSOULA - Right now, the Missoula Public Library is working on making the big move to their brand new building but there are some changes library goers need to know about first.

The Missoula Public Library is asking borrowers to hold onto their checked out items to help in the transition process. Starting July 22, the library will be suspending curbside lending that was implemented because of COVID-19. They will also be suspending reference services and online and virtual programming to allow time to focus on the big move.

"We have to move our collection of about 260,000 items and there's just no way we could be moving our items at the same time we would be circulating it," said Honore Bray, Missoula Public Library director.

Right now, families and book lovers have about a month to pick up summer reading material and movies to watch.

The new library unveiling was originally planned for June 2020, but was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Closures of factories that produced materials needed for the library's state of the art interior have slowed the grand opening. Phase two social distancing protocols have also delayed the unveiling.

Other strict COVID-19 precautions are in place at the library as staff must quarantine returned books and items for 72 hours before putting the items back into circulation.

Even though the opening has been delayed and the library has had to adapt to make sure their lenders are healthy, staff says they are eager to help people again.

"The whole library staff is very excited to be able to open the doors and actually be able to serve the public in a face to face fashion again," said Bray. "That's why we're in the business of libraries we love to help people."

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