Bookworms in Santa Cruz County can now get back into the stacks at local libraries.

Library Director Danitza Lopez said in an email that all four library locations – Nogales, Rio Rico, Tubac and Sonoita – had reopened for browsing on June 1. There’s still a time-limit of 30 minutes for browsing or using a computer, she added, and face masks are optional.

The libraries closed their doors and shifted to curbside service on March 23, 2020 in response to the pandemic.

For readers who still prefer curbside service, Lopez said that will still be available. She said the library is seeking to hire a new assistant and increase the time limit by July.

Aid available for residents affected by pandemic

Santa Cruz County residents who have fallen behind on their rent, mortgage or utilities payments due to COVID-19 may be eligible for financial help through the county government.

In a news release, the county said it had received funds from the federal CARES Act that were allocated by the Arizona Department of Housing to provide rent, mortgage and utility assistance for people experiencing economic hardship caused by the pandemic.

Eligibility is determined by whether a Santa Cruz County household:

1. Has experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs or experienced a financial hardship due to COVID-19;

2. Is at risk for experiencing homelessness or housing instability;

3. Has a household income at or below 80 percent of the county median ($41,350 for a family of four, for example).

To see if you qualify, go to www.santacruzcountyaz.gov, click on the yellow block with the headline “Santa Cruz County Cares” and take the eligibility survey. If you are eligible, the same page has a link to a printable application, as well as a list of locations where applications are available.

“You will need to provide some household and income documentation with your completed application,” the county said, adding: “These funds will be on a first come, first served basis and all requirements must be met.”

Once an applicant is approved, a notice will be sent to their landlord, mortgage and/or utility company that payment is forthcoming. Funds will then be paid directly to the landlord, mortgage and/or utility company.

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