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Harford County library branches reopen in Bel Air, Aberdeen and Norrisville

Jo-Ann Baker is a frequent visitor to the Aberdeen Library. Tuesday, for the first time in nearly a year, she was able to come inside to browse the shelves.

“I’m excited,” she said of the branch reopening to customers this week. “I come in probably every other week and take out 30 books at a time.”

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The Harford County Public Library reopened its Aberdeen, Bel Air and Norrisville branches on Monday. The three branches are be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays. Face coverings and physical distancing are still required inside the library.

Capacity in the buildings is limited and visits are limited to 30 minutes, but customers are allowed to browse the collection and use computers, something they haven’t been able to do since last March, when the library decided to close due to the then-emerging coronavirus pandemic.

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Foot traffic has been light through the first day and a half, which staff anticipated, said Mary Hastler, the CEO of the Harford County Public Library.

“We are seeing seniors returning to browse the collection and to pick up their books,” she said. “One customer stopped by the Norrisville Library [Monday] to use the computer to apply for unemployment. Several families have stopped by, too.”

The library system plans to reopen its eight other branches later in the month.

The Abingdon, Edgewood, Jarrettsville and Joppa libraries are scheduled to open next Monday, March 15; Darlington, Fallston, Havre de Grace and Whiteford will reopen March 22, Hastler said.

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In June, the libraries began offering contactless services, including front door pick-up and drive-through window services. Those are still being offered at all 11 locations. Customers can request materials online or by phone and pick them up by appointment at the drive through or front door at the library of their choice.

Free, contactless printing and virtual events also continue to be offered at each branch.

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