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Technology available at libraries and recreation centers

Suffolk residents will soon have access once again to public computers while following safety protocols.

With COVID-19 shutting down public spaces, many Suffolk residents have not had proper access to technology that they may need. Suffolk Libraries and Suffolk Parks and Recreation are offering access to computers, printing and other technology to the Suffolk community. Access will begin on Dec. 14.

“Access to technology is a great need in our community, especially during COVID-19, and we are pleased to be able to provide access to a variety of options including internet accessible computers in our libraries and recreation centers,” said Clint Rudy, director of libraries for Suffolk Public Libraries.

Morgan Memorial and North Suffolk Library will open for technology use only from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. To keep social distancing, patrons must check in when entering. Face coverings are required for entering, as is a health assessment. There will be a one-hour time limit, and due to social distancing, staff will be unable to provide one-on-one assistance. The rest of the building will remain closed as curbside services will continue.

“Additionally, tablets to take home and laptops for use on the property are available at two locations of the Suffolk Public Library,” said Rudy.

To meet demands and follow social distancing, Kindle Fire tablets are available for check out and home use for up to three weeks with a library account. Laptops will also be available for checkout on library property. These items, including the WiFi2Go mobile hotspots, may be requested through curbside pickup services. Laptops are available on a first-come, first-served basis and cannot be placed on hold in advance.

Printing is also available through curbside service for no-contact pickup. Email documents to reference@suffolkva.us indicating the number of copies and preferred pickup location.

Individuals can sign up for a free library card online through the library’s website to immediately access digital content and place holds on print materials.

According to Rudy, the library is preparing for classes, events and new additions to help the Suffolk community stay connected.

Suffolk Parks and Recreation will have computer labs available from 6 a.m. to noon, and 1 to 8 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to noon on Saturdays at East Suffolk and Whaleyville recreation centers. The lab will close from noon to 1 p.m. for disinfecting, but cleaning will also occur while labs are open.

Face coverings must be worn when entering and using computers. Health screenings will take place, and no one with a temperature above 100.4 degrees will be permitted. Patrons must register before entering, and a maximum of two may be allowed at a time for a one-hour time slot.

East Suffolk and Whaleyville Recreation Center computer labs are available for use with an annual Recreation Center membership. Recreation Center memberships for residents are $20 per year for adults, $10 per year for teens, and $5 per year for seniors ages 55 and up.

The East Suffolk Recreation Center is located at 138 S. Sixth St., and the Whaleyville Recreation Center is located at 132 Robertson St.

For more information regarding computer lab use, contact East Suffolk Recreation Center at 514-4500, or for the Whaleyville Recreation Center, 514-7100.

To learn more about the Suffolk Public Library, 514-7323, visit www.suffolkpubliclibrary.com. Follow the Library on Twitter @SufPubLib, and check for updates on Facebook at Facebook.com/SuffolkPublicLibrary. Subscribe to Suffolk Public Library’s YouTube Channel to access a collection of digital classes. Morgan Memorial Library is located at 443 W. Washington St., and the North Suffolk Library is located at 2000 Bennetts Creek Park Road.