Drive-thru window closer to reality for library | News

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BLACKFOOT – Construction continues to make noise in a place where silence is generally appreciated and classically joked about with a librarian hushing those making too much noise.

Reminding people to stay quiet would not be the case currently at the Blackfoot Public Library as they inch closer and closer to seeing their drive-thru window opening for the first time. Although the interior redecorating is not complete, it is not hard to conceptualize what will happen in an effort to provide better service to the community.

Library Directror Lisa Harral stated that they tried on numerous occasions to have the funds appropriated through CARES Act funding because of the need to operate in a different capacity. The Blackfoot Public Library has been offering curbside pickup for the better part of the last year so patrons and visitors were able to still get their books that they wanted.

The request for CARES funding was denied all three times that it was requested with the state because the drive-up window would not be temporary; they had no interest in funding something that would future-proof the library from any future pathogen that took hold.

It would be a hard decision by the members of the library board, but they voted in favor of funding it themselves through surplus funds they had been able to accrue over the years. The funds were placed aside by the board in case the need ever appeared where they would either have to move or expand.

Harral said it is hard to see some of the elderly make their way inside of the library with the worry about the safety of their patrons. She stated that she has received a lot of positive feedback from them regarding the installation of a drive-up window, and wanted to let it be known that those who need a little extra help are welcome to use the drive-thru for such things like books, copies, and requests for certain archive items to be handled through the window.

The drive-thru window will bring convenience to those who do not have a lot of time to search through the shelves themselves or on time constraints. Harral explained that having a librarian help select books can be a major benefit as well — they have experience searching for certain genres that may appeal to the younger crowd or those who otherwise may not appear to enjoy reading.

Picture this, an access from Broadway that will replace the current sidewalk in front of the parking stalls on the north side of the building. The window will be installed in the middle of that wall and people will exit before they reach the to-be-sectioned-off area near the front door to the building. There is a possibility of losing a few parking stalls but it’s thought to be a small price to pay to provide this level of service to the people of Blackfoot.

Harral is hopeful that the drive-thru will encourage others to start or restart their use of the public library with the increased ease of driving up and collecting their order like a fast food chain. They will have a second circulation location behind the window where they will handle the drive-up, but traditional adventures through the library will still need to stop off at the normal check-out counter.

Harral also explained that during her 40 years with the library, she has always wanted a drive-thru and is happy to see it coming despite the circumstances that brought it to them, expressing that at least one good thing has come out of COVID. Once the window is completed, people of the community will be able to roll through the drive-thru and collect their next book or audio book without ever needing to leave the car.

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