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Library to Go! program launches at Athenaeum

WESTFIELD-Staff members at the Westfield Athenaeum will launch a new service – Library to Go! – on June 1.

“The Westfield Athenaeum is now offering our clean safe library materials to go,” said Kate Deviny, director.

Deviny noted Athenaeum staffers have been reviewing and critiquing plans for the past month to keep the staff and patrons safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Westfield Athenaeum is in sync with other local libraries including West Springfield, Agawam, Southwick and Pittsfield,” said Deviny. “The other libraries have either opened their book drops or are opening them this week.”

Becky Blackburn, public services librarian at the Westfield Athenaeum, shares a photo of the homebound delivery car loaded up for its first voyage since March. (BECKY BLACKBURN PHOTO)

Deviny said the Athenaeum’s take-out service begins June 1 which gives her staff time to learn how to work in a “very different library,” observing social distancing, wearing masks, and limiting chats.

Deviny explained she has been handling all of the materials that come into the building through the book drop and are first brought to a separate room from the children’s library.

“Items rest in a bin for three days before being put on a book cart for another day or two,” said Deviny, adding, “Of course, we have gloves, lab coats and goggles, but as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states, washing one’s hands thoroughly is the best way to keep safe.”

Deviny also noted from a recent CDC statement, one is “not likely to contract COVID-19 through objects but through person-to-person interaction.”

“We have wanted to offer this service for weeks, but did not have the permission or guidance from the state,” said Deviny, noting the state provided “very specific instructions.” 

“Our local health department has now signed off on our meeting the Massachusetts guidelines,” she said.

For area residents with a CW/MARS library card in good standing, up to eight items may be requested once a week. Items can range from books, audiobooks, music CDs and DVDs to magazines, puzzles or games.

“Each library is limited to give out only the items we have on our shelves since inter-library loan is not yet re-started,” said Deviny.

This is the set up that will greet Westfield Athenaeum patrons when they begin picking up items from the Library to Go! program. (BECKY BLACKBURN PHOTO)

Persons interested in requesting items can either call (413) 568-7833, ext. 2, send an email to [email protected], or visit

“The more complete and detailed you get the happier you will be with your selection, since we have only the materials currently in the building and may have to substitute,” said Deviny.

Deviny noted a no-contact delivery process will be in place to keep everyone safe.

“You will be given an appointment time and will park in a designated spot in our parking lot,” said Deviny.

A table will be set up at the west entrance – near the handicap parking slots – and patrons will show their card and the pre-selected items will be brought out by a librarian.

All returns of library materials must be done directly at the drive-up book drop on the west side of the building. 

“This process ensures our staff do not touch non-quarantined items,” said Deviny, adding, “please do not leave any returns on the pick up table or anywhere outside the library.”

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