The Athens Regional Library System announced that its library branches started reopening in phases Wednesday, May 20, with the opening of library book drops for returning checked out materials.

Library book drops will be open for returning checked-out materials between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., Monday through Friday, starting Wednesday, May 20. Returned materials will be held for 10 days before being checked in, and no fines will be accrued.

Libraries are not accepting donations of materials at this time. Patrons are asked to return items only during the specified times and not leave items near the book drops or outside the libraries if the book drops are closed.

Starting Wednesday, May 27, Athens Regional Library System library branches plan to offer curbside pickup of library holds. Patrons will be able to place holds on materials through the library system’s website, athenslibrary.org. Once the items are ready, library staff will contact the patron, who can then come to the library to pick them up between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., Monday through Friday. Upon arrival at the library, patrons are asked to remain in their vehicles and call the library branch’s phone number, which will be posted outside, for further instructions.

“We are taking precautions to ensure the health and safety of both our patrons and our staff,” said Athens Regional Library System Executive Director Valerie Bell. “While our buildings have been closed, we have continued to provide services virtually through our website. We encourage our patrons to stay safe by limiting trips outside the home, and we suggest that patrons take advantage of our online services.”

The library’s online services include digital collections of e-books, audiobooks and magazines for all ages, live programming on social media, interactive reference chat, access to online resources and more.

The Athens Regional Library System includes 11 library branches in five northeast Georgia counties: Athens-Clarke, Franklin, Madison, Oconee and Oglethorpe. To learn more, visit athenslibrary.org.

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