In a sign of society beginning to gear back up, the Dauphin County Library System today announced it would begin a phased reopening of its branches on Friday.
On June 5, the first four libraries will reopen:
- East Shore Area Library, 4501 Ethel St., Lower Paxton Township
- Madeline L. Olewine Memorial Library, 2410 N. 3rd St., Harrisburg
- William H. & Marion C. Alexander Family Library, 200 W. Second St., Hummelstown
- Elizabethville Area Library, 80 N. Market St., Washington Township
The libraries then will be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays. The East Shore Area Library will also be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays. A seniors-only hour is from 10 to 11 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays at all open locations.
The Elizabethville branch is the exception to this schedule, in that it’s closed on Monday.
According to a release from the library system, limited numbers of members at any given time can enter the buildings only to use the computers, which have all been repositioned to ensure social distancing. Members can also order books and other materials online and arrange for curbside pickup.
“As we reopen, the library is focusing on the safety of the public and our staff,’’ said Executive Director Karen Cullings. “We ask that all visitors wear masks, and all locations will have masks available for those who need them. We request everyone’s patience as the library works to maintain a safe environment while delivering vital services.”
Cullings said the reopening plan prioritized computer accessibility since the library often is a member’s only resource for internet service. Free Wi-Fi, which has been available outside at all locations since the lockdown began March 13, will remain accessible.
As conditions allow, additional library locations will partially reopen, Cullings said. All programs will continue to be offered only online through the library’s website and Facebook page, she added.
During this limited reopening, members wanting to check out items may request the materials online—either through BookAdvisor or the online catalog—choosing their preferred open location for curbside pickup. Members without computer access may request materials by calling 717-652-9380. Once they have been notified their materials are ready, members will have one week to retrieve their selections.
To guard against the coronavirus, the library will quarantine all returned materials for 72 hours. In addition to the computer stations between use, staff will clean all publicly accessible areas every two hours. Sneeze guards have been installed at all service points.
Additionally, all staff members are receiving training covering cleaning and sanitizing procedures, and at the start of each shift will have their temperature taken and answer health screening questions, Cullings said. Staff will also use gloves when handling items used by the public and when delivering materials for curbside pickup.
“From providing computers and internet access to educational materials for children unable to go to school, we know the vital role the library plays in our community,” Cullings said. “We are committed to balancing the need to serve the public with our responsibility to keep our members and staff safe.’’