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Cuyahoga Co. Public Library Opening 13 Branches For Limited Service In June

The Cuyahoga County Public Library will open about half of its branches next month for limited services, including curbside pick-up and drive thru options.

Thirteen locations will open June 1, but anyone with a checked-out item has until June 15 to return it. About 400,000 materials are currently on loan, Executive Director Tracy Strobel said.

“As you can imagine, if they decided to return them all on June 1, that would be challenging for us to handle, just from a materials handling and logistics standpoint,” Strobel said.

Drop-off will be available at any of the library system’s 27 locations.

The 11 libraries set to open for drive-thru service are: Beachwood, Garfield Heights, Mayfield, Middleburg Heights, North Royalton, Olmstead Falls, Orange, Parma, Parma Snow, South Euclid and Warrensville Heights.

The two branches that will offer curbside pickup are Fairview Park and Solon.

Anyone with an item on hold for checkout will receive a call when it is their turn to pick it up, to help ease traffic concerns, Strobel said.

Additional steps will be taken to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, she said. Employees will wear masks and gloves, and hand sanitizer will be available. Any items returned to the library will be quarantined for 72 hours, she said.

“Once we do actually pass them to the customer, we will be just doing a quick wipe of the outside covers,” Strobel said.

The library furloughed about 300 employees in April as part of the coronavirus shutdowns, but 500 employees are still working on reduced hours, Strobel said. Those remaining employees will operate the branches opening in June.

Changes Coming To CPL, Akron-Summit County Libraries, Too

The Cleveland Public Library is also planning to launch additional services and programming in the next few weeks. CPL will soon open registration for several virtual courses, including legal aid, art classes and online tutoring.

“We have been a major resource for the community… through all kinds of activities to improve the quality of life,” said Chief Equity, Education & Engagement Officer Sadie Winlock. “We had to figure out, how are we going to continue to deliver these services?”

Patrons can visit the CPL website and identify which programs they are interested in, Winlock said, and the library will send them relevant information.

The programs will be available by phone or online, via videoconferencing software including Zoom and Microsoft Teams. The library is aiming to reach people across technological divides, Winlock said.

“We are starting to look at ways that, how can we reach people not only by phone but by television and radio?” Winlock said.

Offering online programs will allow CPL to expand its audience in new ways, Winlock said, because in-person programming is often limited to a specific branch.

“It’s going to relate to a lot of our patrons who are used to coming into the library, and also a brand new audience,” Winlock said.

There’s no timeline yet for when CPL will begin offering in-person programming again, Winlock said. The library’s buildings are still closed to the public.

Akron-Summit County Public Libraries are also considering new options for intake. The library system currently has more than 300,000 items out on loan, according to a statement on its website.

The system's buildings will remain closed through the month of May, and activities are suspended through June. An announcement on new book return policies is expected in the next few weeks, according to the statement.

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