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'I just re-read all of my books' | Some Knox County libraries reopen with social distancing precautions

Patrons began trickling into the Fountain City branch just a few minutes after it opened on Friday.

With books in their hands and masks on their faces, library patrons began trickling into the Fountain City Branch Library a few minutes after it opened its doors for the first time in more than two months. 

It's one of eight Knox County libraries reopening after all 19 locations closed for public health concerns. 

Shanti Santiago-Fey visited with her mom. She said she was eager to find some new reading material after going without her regular library visits since March. 

"I just re-read all of my books. I have three shelves of them, so I re-read all of those and all my library books," Santiago-Fey said. 

When patrons walk inside, they'll notice a number of different signs directing people where to stand when they check out, where to place their books, and how many people can sit at a table. 

The following Knox County libraries reopened on Friday:

  • Lawson McGhee Library, 500 W. Church Avenue
  • Burlington Branch Library, 4614 Asheville Highway
  • Carter Branch Library, 9036 Asheville Highway
  • Cedar Bluff Branch Library, 9045 Cross Park Drive
  • Farragut Branch Library, 417 Campbell Station Road
  • Fountain City Branch Library, 5300 Stanton Road
  • Powell Branch Library, 330 W. Emory Road
  • Howard Pinkston Branch Library, 7732 Martin Mill Pike

Spokesperson Mary Pom Claiborne said they've spent all week training to reopen. 

"We've spent the week training for that and preparing for that, so I think we're in as good as shape as you could possibly be," Claiborne said. 

169 library employees were furloughed for about a month during the closure. 102 employees returned to work this week, and 67 will remain on furlough.

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