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Library district receives $150K in COVID money

Photo Provided SIGNAGE DIRECTS library patrons to place their books in a return bin in Martins Ferry.

MARTINS FERRY — The Belmont County District Library received $150,000 in COVID-19 relief funding to help keep its six locations clean and safe during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Anthony Orsini, library director, said the library district received the money and is giving $25,000 to each library in its system.

“We have six locations and this will cover all the extra expenses from COVID-19,” Orsini said Friday.

The locations include: Martins Ferry, Bethesda, Bridgeport, Powhatan Point, Shadyside and Flushing.

Pandemic-related expenses have included extra cleaning supplies and extra work time to do the additional cleaning and book quarantining work. The money also could be used to hire an outside company to do a deep cleaning if any employee became sick, he added.

Meanwhile, because the library district has demonstrated to health officials that it can operate safely, all six libraries were recently permitted to extend their hours.

“We’re pretty much back to normal hours now,” Orsini said, adding the libraries’ normal circulation is still lagging.

He noted storytimes for children are beginning again, but they will be handled a little differently because of the coronavirus concerns.

“We will be doing temperature checks and limiting how many can attend at one time. We’re doing all we can to do it safely,” Orsini said.

The library district continues to ask patrons to wear masks inside its locations and observe social distancing rules.

The federal COVID safety funding was distributed by the state Office of Budget and Management as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.

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