When I think of things I've missed most during COVID isolation, the top of the list is extended family.  That's followed by a tie between recycling and the library.  Today comes great news for book lovers.  The Hannibal Free Public Library will begin providing curbside pickup service on Wednesday.Patrons can request books and other materials up to 48 hours in advance by placing holds in the library's online catalog, messaging the library via Facebook, calling the library at 573-221-0222 or by sending an email to ref@hannibal.lib.mo.us.

The Hannibal Library has been closed for many weeks in accordance with safety guidelines.  The electronic library with e-reader and audio books has always been an option, but I'm one of those people who need to turn a physical page.  Even though the doors won't be open, at least us bibliophiles can get our hands a book.

Once the hold is placed, the library staff will search for the item, call the patron and check out the item. A time slot will be designated, and the patron will need to show up at that agreed time slot or call the library to make other arrangements.

Pickup times for the first week will be on Wednesday and Saturday.

“This will allow us to see how the service works and perhaps improve it,” said Silver. “Plans are in place to provide pickup from 10 a.m. to noon, and 5 to 7 p.m. on Monday, noon to 3 p.m. on Wednesday and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. We'd like to see those hours expanded, so everyone is encouraged to use curbside pickup service at Hannibal Free Public Library.”

“Patrons will need their library bar-codes to use curbside pickup service,” said library director Hallie Yundt Silver. “Patrons who do not have library cards or have lost their cards should call the library to complete a temporary registration over the phone. They will then be ready to place holds and use the new service.”

To update library cards or to place holds, patrons can call the library on Monday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Also beginning on Wednesday, patrons can return books and other materials in an exterior book drop box located at the west side of the building on South Church Street. The library will quarantine returned materials for three days before checking them in and returning it to circulation.

The library's curbside service will be provided at the back of the building through the fire door. Library staff will bring items to patron's cars on the passenger side during their reserved time periods.

“To try to ensure safety, we've spaced pickup times 10 minutes apart,” said library assistant director Caitlin Greathouse. “We know that our patrons have been missing our services and we sure miss our patrons. We hope that curbside service will be useful during these times. We want everyone to stay safe, stay healthy and keep reading.”

For more information regarding the library's curbside pickup service, call the Hannibal Free Public Library, visit the library's website http://www.hannibal.lib.mo.us/ or check out their Facebook page.