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Library gets facelift while shuttered during pandemic.

The Tucumcari Public Library reopened June 9 for the first time in almost three months after being shut down by the coronavirus. Those who showed up found a different-looking library inside.

Library director Linda Gonzales noted the library's bookshelves in the adult section were moved to the north part of the facility, giving the appearance of more space for chairs and tables and more flexibility for future events.

"If we need a program, all we have to do is move things this way," Gonzales said, motioning to one side of the library, "and we have all this space."

For now, however, children's programming remains on hold because of the virus.

Moving shelves and furniture around wasn't the only thing done during the down time that began March 16 because of the pandemic.

"We kept really busy during those three months," Gonzales said. "We have tons of new books, we refinished the chairs and tables, we have new artwork on the kids' side. We had the time to do what we needed to do."

Gonzales said her now-completed to-do list dated back about a year ago.

Coronavirus restrictions remain in place at the facility. The library will allow only five patrons at a time to look for books and three at a time use its public computers. X's are marked on the floor at a checkout lane to indicate proper social distancing.

Staffers wear masks. For patrons, masks are recommended but not required.

Tucumcari Public Library also changed its hours to reflect less staffing amid a city budget crunch.

Its hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. It is closed Monday. Gonzales and clerk Theresa Cassidy are the library's only employees for now.

The Tucumcari City Commission the previous week gave the green light for the library and City Hall to reopen. The city seeks to next reopen its recreation center and historical museum when more COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, probably in early July.

Gonzales said she was enthused about reopening the library.

"I'd been waiting ... I'm so excited," she said. "It is awesome to see people again. We miss our patrons because they're so special."

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