The Friends of the Sun City Libraries board of directors is beginning to pick up the pieces of what had been promising to be a good year.
The group suspended all meetings and activities and closed its used books store, Books Around the Corner, in March due to the COVID-19 crisis. But as Recreation Centers of Sun City and Maricopa County Library District officials begin to reopen, the Friends are eager to get back into the swing of things.
The group met June 2 for the first time since March and set some tentative plans.
The Book Buddies, a group of volunteers to deliver books to homebound residents, could resume activities as early as Monday, July 6, coinciding with the full reopening of Sun City libraries.
“Book Buddies can start up as soon as volunteers are ready,” said Monica Fallon, program coordinator.
She added the timing is not the best as about half her volunteers leave the community during the summer months. She was still waiting to hear back from the rest to see how many are available.
With the restrictions of COVID-19, program volunteers would call ahead to clients to let them know when books will be delivered. Volunteers will then leave the books on clients’ doorsteps. Clients will call their volunteer contact when books are ready for return and leave them on the doorstep to be picked up, according to Ms. Fallon.
The reopening for Books Around the Corner will take a little longer.
The board agreed to target Tuesday, Sept. 8 as the reopening date. In the meantime, staff and volunteers will gather the supplies they need to keep the store, in the former Hoover Room of the Sun City Branch library at Bell Recreation Center, 18828 N. 99th Ave., and the materials sanitized, according to Mary Anne McDonald, books store manager.
“When we open we will allow only three customers in the store at a time to allow for social distancing,” Ms. McDonald said. “We will also have a table in front of the counter to provide more distance from volunteers.”
She added 13 volunteers indicated they will return and five others preferred to wait a bit longer.
Sue Blechl, Friends board president, said the group will follow library officials lead regarding procedures for reopening the book store. However, she encouraged spending whatever is necessary to get the store reopened, as it is the group’s main source of revenue.
The group, which provides support to the two Sun City libraries, including the Fairway Branch, 10600 W. Peoria Ave., is in good financial standing, according to Jessica Potter-Slider, treasurer.
“Our investments are slowly coming back after the March falloff,” she said. “We also have plenty of cash.”
The Friends prepaid about $4,700 in rent to RCSC for scheduled activities that did not take place during the facilities shutdown. Friends officials are negotiating with RCSC officials for return of the funds.