RANTOUL — Rantoul Public Library has slowly begun offering more services, but patrons still cannot enter the building due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The library began by offering a puzzle giveaway and has begun offering curbside services. In the curbside service, Rantoul Public Library items only can be picked up and returned by making an appointment with library staff by calling 893-3955 or online at the library website. Illinois Heartland materials may also be dropped off; however, none may yet be picked up.

Library staff will let patrons know when the articles ordered online can be picked up.

“So far we are doing appointments for every 15 minutes during selected hours,” Library Director Holly Thompson said. “We have maybe half our appointment slots are filled.”

Items are left on a cart outside the library.

Thompson said all library staff have returned to work.

“When we are not doing curbside service, we are doing things behind the scenes like cleaning shelves, putting them in order, updating records on the computer,” she said. “It is nice to be able to update these records and get things more in order. The shelves are looking great.”

Staff coming into the library was limited during Phases 1 and 2 of the state’s recovery period. The few staff who did come in performed essential services such as answering phones, handling bills and answering mail.

The library board is scheduled to meet June 16, and Thompson said board members “will discuss what our next phase will be.”

“We are definitely keeping an eye on the governor’s order,” she said.

The library may soon be able to offer additional public services such as computers, faxing and copy machine.

Most summer programs are canceled. The summer reading program, however, is being held virtually. Bingo sheets are available that can be done online or picked up at the library. A link to the program is available on the library website.

There are also certain crafts that can be done “doing curbside service,” she said.

dhinton@rantoulpress.com