Illinois: “‘It May Not Be The Same Way That it Was:’ Local Libraries Plan Scenarios For Eventual Reopening”

“From the Park Ridge Advocate/Chicago Tribune:

With expectations that social distancing will be necessary for an extended period of time and lingering concerns about the spread of COVID-19, directors of several area libraries say that reopening the buildings will likely happen in stages. They will also likely take extra precautions based on guidance from health agencies.


Directors of the Park Ridge, Niles-Maine, Morton Grove, Skokie and Lincolnwood Libraries said the plans they are developing include such measures as:

  • Outside pick-ups and drop-offs of requested materials
  • Limits on the number of patrons allowed inside libraries at any one time
  • Fewer pieces of furniture
  • New screening between patrons and staff
  • Cancellation of on-site programs

“It may not be the same way that it was for a long time, if ever,” said Heidi Smith, director of the Park Ridge Public Library.


What to do about the typically busy children’s department is also unclear.

“Before we closed, we put all the toys away — anything that would tempt a kid to interact,” Smith said.

“I’ve heard some libraries talking about specific hours for protected groups,” she continued. “Maybe we need to have special hours for kids. But anything we do, we’ve got to think of the potential risk to the staff as well.”

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