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Akron-Summit Public Library Announces Plan For Slow Reopening

The Akron-Summit Public Library will reopen in phases after weeks of COVID-19 concern-driven closure.

Most staff will return to buildings to prepare for service June 8, and patrons can start returning items June 15, library administrators announced Tuesday. Temperature checks will be required for staff before each shift and face coverings inside library buildings will be mandatory for library workers.

“We will continue to practice social distancing for those who will be returning to work,” Marketing Communications Director Carla Davis said. “Some of our staff will continue to telework in preparation for reopening.”

More than 300,000 items are currently checked out of the libraries, Davis said, and due dates will be extended for those items until July 15, in an effort to spread out processing returns.

“There is no rush,” Davis said. “It would be nice if customers would hold onto those items for just a little bit longer, because we know with more than 300,000 items checked out, there’s going to be a deluge.”

Returned items will be quarantined for 72 hours before being handled or recirculated, Davis said.

“Getting them in and getting them shelved will take some time, and it will take a minimum of 72 hours for items to be removed from the customer’s account,” she said.

The library expects to begin offering phone service and curbside pickup June 29, Davis said. Items on hold will be available for pick up by appointment.

“All of our locations don’t have drive-up windows,” Davis said. “So what we plan to do is to launch an outside pickup service.”

The buildings without a drive-thru window will have a designated location outside the building where patrons can pick up their items, Davis said. Staff will not be present at those locations to hand out materials.

The library plans to offer limited access to buildings July 20, but all programs and room reservations remain canceled through July 31. All reopening dates are subject to change based on recommendations from health officials, Davis said.

A date for fully reopening library buildings to the public has not yet been set.

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