Magazine News Volume 70, Issue 9

Reopening of Public Libraries

By Kylie Deng

Graphic By Alma Snortum-Phelps

At the beginning of quarantine, locations once open to the public, an example being the public libraries across Contra Costa County, were closed when everyone was told to stay in their homes. Some libraries are being used as Covid-19 test sites, while a few others are not fully open to the public due to size limitations. Libraries were closed and front door pick up was used when patrons wanted to choose and check out books. Before the reopenings, people were not allowed to go inside, and the library had to be notified beforehand by text or another form of communication to properly allow patrons to pick up books on hold. 

Things are now different compared to how it was earlier in the pandemicComputer use is limited to an hour, chairs and tables that were placed out for people to study at were removed to prevent patrons from staying for longer than needed. Front door services,meeting rooms, and study rooms are no longer available for patrons. The public can now easily go into the library and browse, check out, and return books in person. 

Safety enhancements and safety protocols have been added to keep people safer as they browse about the library. Plexiglass is used up as usual at desks. Toys for the kids and families that used to visit were removed from the kid’s section. If Walnut Creek does revert back to the purple tier and the tier in between, the library will still be open but with a limited population percentage. If Walnut Creek was in the purple tier, only 25% of the building capacity will be let in. Following up, the red tier would be 50% and the orange tier 100% building capacity. All the events that would have been hosted within the libraries would be moved outside or online.

A such event is an online event involving an education speaker about LGBTQI+ Fluency and Allyship on June 7th. Multiple online meetings featuring educational speakers and hosted by several book clubs within the entire Contra Costa County. Quarantine has been letting up and some people are still struggling and stressed as the school year comes to an end, the library has held online meetings about self care to help people go back to the usual role of daily life. As of May 7th, the libraries have been reopened and are fully available to the public and story lovers of all kinds.