They have been closed since March, 2020 due to COVID-19 pandemic.
Frederick, Md (KM). There’s good news for library patrons. The Fredrick County Public Library System says it will reopen all of its branches on Tuesday, June 1st. Director James Kelly says the libraries will be operated at 30% of capacity and visitors will be required to wear masks and practicing social distancing. Patrons can browse the shelves and use the computers.
“We also ask that customers limit their visits to task-based services and activities so that others are ensured access to the building,” Kelly says.
The public libraries have been closed since March, 2020, when the state and the county were in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, as a way to prevent the spread of the virus But patrons could request materials on line and pick them up outside of the library building. “Curbside service will continue at our branches for contactless pickup of reserved material,” says Kelly. “And we’re very excited about this second phase of our reopening plan, and we look forward to future phases when in-branch programing and other services can return.”
While the libraries were closed, employees worked at the vaccination centers. But the County has hired over 200 people to staff the clinics, allowing library system employees to return to their regular jobs.
As part of this reopening, Kelly says there will be no more fines. “And in addition to our reopening, I’m also happy to announce Frederick County Public Libraries will go fine-free on June 15th, giving all customers a clean slate,” he says.
“In 2019, we took an initial step towards this by removing fines for all children’s materials,” Kelly continues. “But after the past year, and with the full support of our Board of Trustees, we felt it was the right time to expand our fine-free status for all.”
The announcement was made on Thursday during County Executive Jan Gardner’s public information briefing. She hopes this is the first of many reopenings of county government offices. But this process won’t happen overnight. “I’ve been meeting division directors to discuss plans, and it’s been clear that reopening is different from division to division. is more complicated than closing things down was,” says Gardner.
But when reopeings take place, Gardner says many COVID-19 restrictions will remain in place. “We will continue to require face coverings when inside any county building,” she says. “As more people are fully vaccinated, we will certainly re-evaluate this policy.”
By Kevin McManus