HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — A return to normal Monday for the Hartford Public Library.
The library has always been a place where people enjoy browsing and reading in-person. But that was on hold during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The library reopened last July for limited services like using computers and book checkout, but that all changed Monday.
Services extended at the Downtown Library Monday include “curated browsing of the collection and socially distanced seating. The hours of operation are 9 am to 6 pm Monday through Thursday, and 9 am to 5 pm Friday and Saturday,” the library said on Facebook.
Jashira Gonzalez of Hartford told us, “It feels good to go outside, see the sun, just breathe, and come in the library and just read a book. It’s just wonderful.”
Gonzales was one of the first patrons to enjoy a return to normal at the main branch downtown.
“See if I can find a book to read later and just do paperwork,” she added.
To be clear, this 127-year-old institution never stopped serving this community. It’s offered curbside pickup and virtual programming. But a year and some change into the pandemic things are finally somewhat back to normal.
Marie Jarry, the Hartford Public Library’s director of public services said, “It’s very exciting because we can finally welcome people back into the building to browse our collections and to sit for up to two hours, so it starts to look more like a normal library again.”
The library has a lot on the horizon this spring and summer and it includes taking more and more steps back to what was prior to March 2020.
“We have a summer concert series planned,” Jarry added. “We have children’s programing planned at all of the branches and some gardening projects planned for outside. So stay tuned it’s going to be a summer of fun here in Hartford.
There will be a phased-in re-opening of the neighborhood branches. Beginning in early May, several will be open several days a week.