TOWSON, MD—Baltimore County Public Library is moving forward with plans for the next steps in the re-opening of branches. The re-opening, which will occur in phases, is being conducted according to guidance from county, state, and federal health agencies, and takes into account social distancing protocols and community needs.
This phased reopening will begin on Monday June 15, 2020 with a limited number of staff returning to library buildings to begin internal preparations. Staff will be preparing work spaces, receiving and processing 8,000 new books and resources for users, gathering the 58,000 customer holds, and planning for the return of the 400,000+ items borrowed before the library closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020.
Exterior book drops at branches will be opened on Tuesday, June 16 at noon and remain open 24 hours per day. Interior book drops will remain closed until the library reopens to the public. To prepare materials for safe re-shelving and reuse, all returned library materials must be quarantined for 72 hours per CDC guidelines before being checked in and prepared for re-circulation. Understanding that some may not be able to return materials immediately, all fines that have incurred are being waived by BCPL if materials are returned by August 31, 2020.
Contactless curbside holds pick up service, with drive-up and walk-up options, begins at all branches on Monday June 22, 2020. Hours for this service will be Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Further details about this service will be released soon.
Once facilities have been fully prepared for modified and safe service, Baltimore County Public Library will be reopening to the public with limited in-branch services and social distancing measures in place. While the buildings remain closed to the public, Wi-Fi is available outside of ten branches with an upgrade in Wi-Fi service scheduled for remaining branches by mid-July. All virtual services put into place during the closure remain ongoing and include chats for reference and resources via phone, text and online and more than 100 monthly events and programs for adults, families and children.
“We are delighted to be taking these next steps to make the library more available to the citizens of Baltimore County. We are a vital part of the community and want to provide as many resources and services as possible while keeping our customers and staff safe and healthy,” said Baltimore County Library Director Paula Miller. “Since our March 15 closure, the staff has been exceptional at pivoting to offer resources and services to our users. While the world seemed to stop for a bit, it is evident from the 2,332 new library cards issued, the 388,000 downloads and the 43% increase in views on our YouTube channel that the community’s love for reading and the library never wavered.”
“Our libraries provide invaluable resources and services to our communities, and they have continued to do so virtually since the beginning of this pandemic,” said County Executive Johnny Olszewski. “I’m grateful to the hard-working staff at all of our branches as they begin to gradually offer greater accessibility to their resources.”
NOTE: Baltimore County Public Library’s Loch Raven Branch and Reisterstown Branch are currently closed for renovation.