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In this file photo from May, patrons wait their turn to be served in the parking lot of Citizen’s Library in Washington.

As cases of the coronavirus soar throughout the region, several libraries either have or will be closing their buildings and returning to curbside-only service.

Patrons will no longer be able to use computers or browse the shelves at Citizens Library in Washington starting Tuesday, according to Diane Ambrose, the library’s director.

“It was not a decision we wanted to make, but think it is our best option for a while,” Ambrose said.

Before deciding to go back to curbside-only service, Citizens Library had curtailed public computer access, fax and copy services. The library, along with others in the area, reopened for in-person services in June after having been closed for three months. Earlier this month, the board of Citizens Library increased its in-person hours, and had plans to increase them again early in 2021, depending on how the virus played out.

Starting Monday, both the Peters Township Public Library and the Frank Sarris Public Library in Canonsburg will suspend in-person services and go to curbside-only. Lacey Love, the director of the Peters library, said in a message on the library’s website that decision was made following the recent stay-at-home advisory issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

All the branches operated by the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh closed last week as the number of new positive coronavirus infections rocketed in Allegheny County. Several libraries in Allegheny County that are not part of the Carnegie Library system have also decided to shutter their buildings and have curbside pickup service, including libraries in Mt. Lebanon, Dormont and Bethel Park.

“I can’t comment on how long such decisions will be in effect,” said Marilyn Jenkins, executive director of the Allegheny County Library Association. “That will depend on how public health conditions shift.”

All the libraries that are stopping in-person services will be continuing online programming, as they have throughout the pandemic. Also, all of them are accepting returned materials in outdoor book drops, but not accepting book donations.

Hours of operation are available on each library’s website.

Staff Writer

Brad Hundt came to the Observer-Reporter in 1998 after stints at newspapers in Georgia and Michigan. He serves as editorial page editor, and has covered the arts and entertainment and worked as a municipal beat reporter.

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