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CASSANDRA JENKINS — Groves Public Library opens for limited services

The Groves Public Library partially opened its doors Monday with a soft opening offering limited services.

The general public is allowed to access faxing, printing, copying, scanning and notary amenities within the building.

Guests must call 409-962-6281 or text 409-203-6642 to be allowed into the building and/or to schedule a notary service.

Library officials also strongly suggest that whoever enters the building wear a mask.

Despite the restrictions and limited services, Circulation and Technical Services Administrator Keilah Baaheth said the library is glad to slowly be returning to normal.

“It feels really nice to be able to assist someone at this very moment,” she said. “We have been turning people away who’ve been asking to use our computer, to scan a document or print something out, but now we are finally able to tell someone, ‘Why yes! Call us when you pull up and we can take care of your needs here.’ I am very happy to be able to provide our services to those who really need them right now.”

Baaheth said the library saw a few people trickle in on the first day of opening.

“I wasn’t expecting a lot of people but as far as Groves goes, a slow drizzle that builds as it goes,” she said. “Mainly our soft opening is to make sure that we don’t do too much too soon.”

The library will continue to follow directions from city government and Emergency Management Coordinator Fire Chief Lance Billeaud.

“Everyone is constantly saying that there is going to be a second hit of COVID-19, so we don’t want to throw a huge party and have to completely shut down again,” Baaheth said. “The next phase would be, if everything looks brighter and brighter, to allow people to be able to come in and check items out, but as of right now it’s slow and steady. We don’t want to bite off more than we can chew.”

Curbside checkout is available for books, a service Baaheth said is important to continue providing.

“Children, I can say from experience, need to constantly be reading,” she said. “It’s so easy when you aren’t doing something for a period of time, you go back and become lost or unsure.

“Reading is something that parents don’t want to just end all at once, especially at a young age when it really helps with the development of the brain and how they grow up.”

Groves Public Library, 5600 W. Washington, is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:50 p.m. Monday through Friday.

“We want to thank our community for their patience with us as we work through this situation,” Baaheth said. “We are doing our best to meet needs while also following state and city requirements and we hope to be seeing everyone soon!”

Cassandra Jenkins is a news reporter at The Port Arthur News. She can be reached at cassie.jenkins@panews.com.