The Lincoln branch of the Lewis & Clark Library.

Tom Bauer, Missoulian

The Lincoln and Augusta branches of the Lewis & Clark Library will be closed until further notice, officials said Wednesday, noting an increase in the number of COVIDs in communities.

But officials said staff will be available during regular branch hours to help with curbside pickup, phone and email referral questions, and holds.

The closure is effective immediately.

“We will closely monitor the situation in these communities and reopen branches as soon as we deem it safe,” library officials said in an email on Wednesday.

During this time, staff will be available during normal branch hours to respond to curbside pickup questions, phone and email referral questions, and holds.

The library provides laptops and Wi-Fi hotspots for payment, and many library materials are available digitally on the website

Patricia Spencer, spokesperson for the library, said Lincoln emergency staff have called for the library to be closed, citing a growing number of COVID cases. She said the Augusta Library made the same request.

Each branch has a part-time and full-time employee.

She said there were concerns that libraries would have to shut down completely if staff got sick.

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