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Posted on: June 15, 2020

[ARCHIVED] Lewis & Clark Library Branch Libraries to Reopen with Limited Services

For Immediate Release:


Patricia Spencer, Public Information Officer or 406.459.0614

Lewis & Clark Library Branch Libraries to Reopen with Limited Services


June 12, 2020 (Helena, MT)—Under the guidance of the Lewis & Clark Library Board and in line with Governor Bullock’s Reopening of the Big Sky plan, the Lewis & Clark Library will begin a phased reopening at the Capitol, Augusta, East Helena, and Lincoln Branches on June 22nd. The Bookmobile began a limited summer schedule on June 1st. 


Lewis & Clark Library Director John Finn explains that the decision to reopen the Branch Libraries comes after careful consideration of staff and public safety, as well as the ability to procure and maintain necessary PPE supplies. “The Branch Librarians, with the cooperation of the leadership team, made preparations for a safe and measured reopening of services at each branch location. The Libraries will provide limited and monitored in-person access to some materials while adhering to social distancing protocols.” 

Each of the Branch libraries will, based on physical size and space limitations, limit the number of patrons allowed in the buildings and will require all patrons to wear a face mask. Finn explains that this is for staff as well as public safety, “everyone’s safety and health is our top priority.” In addition to requiring patrons to wear face masks, the Library will continue to quarantine items as materials are returned to ensure that all library materials are disinfected before being checked back out into the community. 

Finn said that, “all of us are excited to see our patrons again in person. The demand for curbside holds has only reinforced how hungry our communities are for words, ideas, art, and entertainment.” Finn hopes this is a first step towards a full return to services.  

Due to the differences in each location’s physical layouts, each branch will have a different set of protocols. Services and hours at each of the Branches will be as follows:

Capitol Branch, 1609 11th Avenue, Helena, MT (Next to Leslie’s Hallmark)

The Capitol Branch will open for browsing and holds pick-up Monday – Saturdays from 11a.m.-6p.m. All patrons will be required to wear a mask when browsing in the library.  If a patron does not have a mask, the library will provide one. 

Four individuals will be allowed in the library at a time for browsing and check-out.  This number does not include patrons who stop in to pick up holds.  Only one individual will be allowed in the hold pick-up area at a time.  

Patrons will be encouraged to use the self-check machine when checking out items and will be encouraged to have their library cards.  Self-check machines will be sanitized between uses. 

At this time, the following resources will not be available at the Capitol Branch: No public computers, no public seating, no public restrooms, no newspapers or magazines.

Augusta Branch, 205 Main Street, Augusta, MT

The Augusta Branch will continue with curbside pickup until the middle of July. When the branch does return to limited services, the hours will be: Sunday 1-5, Monday 3-7, Tuesday -Thursday 10-12 and 1-5 p.m.. Closed Friday and Saturday. In order to use the library, patrons will be asked to use hand sanitizer and wear a face mask. If a patron does not have a mask, the library will provide one.  All patrons will be required to adhere to the 6-foot social distancing markers in use at the front desk. There will be a limit of 3 patrons in the library at one time. 

One public computer will be available with a strict 30-minute time limit. Keyboard, mouse, and computer station completely cleaned after each use by staff. During this phase, all magazines and newspapers must be checked out and the Children’s play area will be open only for book checkout. Meeting space will be unavailable inside of the library but patrons are welcome to use the back patio if they adhere to social distancing rules. 

Augusta will accept donations in Phase II with 3-day quarantine and Interlibrary Loans will be available to patrons from libraries in Montana only. Branch will be cleaned and sanitized at mid-day and at the end of the work day. For those patrons unable to access the library, curb side pickup of holds and library packs will still be available. Free WiFi still available outside the building in front or behind on the patio. 

East Helena Branch, 16 E. Main Street, East Helena, MT

East Helena will be open: Monday 11a.m.-6p.m.: 11-1p.m. Computer appts; 2-6p.m. browsing and curbside. Tuesday 11a.m.-6p.m.: 11-3p.m. browsing and curbside; 4-6p.m. Computer appts. Wednesday 11a.m.-6p.m.: 11-1p.m. Computer appts; 2-6p.m. browsing and curbside. Thursday 11a.m.-6p.m.: 11-3p.m. browsing and curbside; 4-6p.m. Computer appts. Friday 11a.m.-5p.m.: 11-1p.m. Computer appts; 2-5p.m. browsing and curbside.

Only 3 patrons will be allowed in the building at a time and they are required to wear masks in order to enter the library. If a patron does not have a mask, the library will provide one. East Helena will not accept donations during this time but will be able to offer Interlibrary Loan services. Curbside holds will still be available with appointment at patron’s request. 

There will be 3 public computers available for 45 minute increments with cleaning in between usage. Reservations for computers accepted only during non-browsing hours to limit people in the building.  The Children’s computer, toys, games and puppets will not be available.

Lincoln Branch, 102 9th Avenue S., Lincoln, MT 

The Lincoln Branch Library will be open for browsing Monday-Wednesday from 3-6 p.m. and Thursday – Saturday from 12-3 p.m. One individual or family of up to three will be allowed in the building at a time. Curbside holds pickup and Library Pack pickup will also be offered during these times. Patrons will be able to make an appointment to use a public computer for 30 minutes but must make an appointment 24 hours in advance. 

“One computer will be available for two 30 minute appointments Monday-Saturday. Appointments are Monday -Wednesday, 2:15 and 6:15 p.m., and Thur-Sat, 11:15 and 3:15 p.m.” explains Branch Librarian Kate Radford. The following library resources will be unavailable during this stage of reopening: The community room, reading nook, children’s play space, teen zone, and certain circulating materials, such as puppets.

Patrons will be required to wear masks when visiting the library (these will be provided or patrons may use their own masks). Social distancing measures will be adhered to while patrons are in the library. 

While library staff is excited to see patrons back in the library, Finn reminds everyone that if they are sick, please stay home. “The limited use of the Branch libraries can change at anytime, we will continue to monitor the situation and keep patrons informed of any and all changes to services.” 

For those patrons not able to access one of the Branch Libraries, the Lewis & Clark Library online resources and services are still available at  

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