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Billings Public Library starts phase 3 of reopening as it lifts more COVID restrictions

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Posted at 5:49 PM, Jun 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-01 19:49:28-04

The Billings Public Library has lifted more COVID-19 restrictions and is now in phase 3 of its reopening plan.

Hannah Stewart-Freeman, assistant director for the library, said Tuesday afternoon that patrons are now able to browse and use computers for two hours per visit. Furniture has been returned to some areas of the library and the technology lab will be opening also.

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Billings Public Library on phase 3

Freeman said the café will now be operating at full capacity, and new furniture has been added for customers.

Freeman said the biggest addition of phase three is the return of the book bike.

“The book bike is a miniature library attached to a bike,” said Freeman.

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Billings Public Library on phase 3

The book bike will be making appearances at the Boys and Girls Club, Little Seeds and The Children’s Hospital, among other locations in Billings. Stewart said it has been two years since the last time the book bike was used.

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The book Bike

“It’s really exciting. This is an amazing pushback to being normal. I think we are all excited about that,” said Freeman.

Phase three for the library comes after the increase in vaccinations across Montana, according to Freeman.

According to the Montana Response COVID-19 and vaccination map website, there are 18 counties across the state with zero active cases and 14 with fewer than five. The total number of vaccine doses administered as of Tuesday was 813,740, and 393,723 Montanans are fully vaccinated.

Stewart said the next phase for the library will be phase four, where it is almost back to normal operations for staff and patrons. This phase is expected to come in the fall.