MELISSA - On Monday, Melissa Public Library began curbside service. Patrons now have access to both books and DVDs.


Visitors are allowed to check out up to 10 items. Requests can be placed on the library’s website, cityofmelissa.com/departments/MelissaPublicLibrary/, which are typically filled in one day. When items are ready, library staff will notify the individual requesting them via phone and email.


Patrons are not allowed inside the library at this time. Instead, library staff will bring items out to them during the pick-up window of 3-5 p.m. Monday through Friday.


“The library team is very excited to see our patrons again, even if it’s just driving through,” Library Director Jennifer Nehls said. “This allows all our patrons a small escape into another world in a time when we are staying home.”


In February, the library also began offering eBooks and audiobooks through the Libby app. Thanks to a partnership between Libby and OverDrive, library card holders can check out items for two weeks and have them downloaded onto their digital devices.


That service is in addition to the library’s catalog on the TexShare Database. It includes help with lessons, quizzes and homework. Classic works of literature are also available via Project Guttenberg, and Geni can help those who want to start their own genealogy project.


Library staff is available by phone to assist with these applications or to issue new library cards.


Additionally, people can access to free Wi-Fi from their cars in the Melissa City Hall parking lot, 3411 Barker Ave. Log-on information is posted on the window.


Before the start of curbside service, the library had been closed since March 18. However, that doesn’t mean that staff has been bored.


Instead, they have remained busy posting things like crafts, storytimes for babies and families and informational fliers on social media. They also created an “I Spy” game in one of the library’s windows for the community to enjoy.


“Our biggest project has been moving things around in the library,” Nehls said. “We have moved some of the shelving in the children’s area to allow for more space. The team created a Tween/Teen Zone, and the DVD sections have moved.”


Librarians have also created other new sections for Junior and Young Adult books. By separating literature by age and types of books, staffers hope to better help younger patrons on their reading journeys.


There has also been a lot of cleaning.


“The library team is dedicated to making sure everyone can come back safely,” Nehls said. “We have also been sanitizing and quarantining all the materials that have been returned, as well as frequently used surfaces in the library. We want to keep everyone as safe and healthy as we can during these times.”


According to Nehls, one of the things she’s learned over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic is how amazing her team is. She lauds them for their flexibility, coming up with new ideas and ensuring that the library will safe for the public when the doors reopen.


When visitors are allowed back, they should expect some changes.


In addition to the new sections, there will be social-distancing requirements and restrictions on the number of people allowed in the library at one time.


Patrons who pick up a book and decide not to check it out will be asked to place it in a designated area so it can be sanitized. Curbside service will still be encouraged, and operating hours will change to give staff more time to clean.


These restrictions will be eased over time as the public health situation improves.


Librarians have also created a virtual summer reading program with reading logs available online. Patrons can stay up to date with sign-ups and programs on the library’s Facebook page.


“The library team cannot stress enough that while we miss all of our friends and patrons, we want to keep everyone safe and healthy,” Nehls said.