The Allen County Public Library is closing the main library and branches to the public – and cutting back on some services – to respond to the surge in COVID-19 cases.
State and county health officials this week declared Allen County as in the red zone, the pandemic's most serious level. The library changes were outlined Thursday during a library board meeting.
The new rules say patrons can still access library materials, but only through curbside pickup, a system put in place earlier in the pandemic.
Meeting rooms will be closed, and those needing to use library computers must reserve an appointment. Computer use will be limited to two hours.
The changes will take effect Friday and will remain until Jan. 28 or two weeks after Allen County drops to orange status, whichever comes first.
Unlike during the shutdown earlier this year, due dates will not be extended. Borrowers can return materials at drop boxes, which staff members will empty.
Changes include the following:
• The Genealogy Center will be open only by appointment through Genealogy@acpl.info.
• Reference librarians will be available at 260-421-1200 or virtually at Ask@acpl.info.
• The limit for held items temporarily will double from 10 items to 20. When ACPL moves out of code red, the limit will go back to 10.
• Hoopla users will again be offered double downloads in December.
• Library cards can be established online through acpl-cms.wise.oclc.org.
• The doors on the east side of the main library off the library plaza will be locked.
People who might use the building must abide by mask and social-distancing requirements and refrain from bringing in food or drink. People unwilling or unable to wear a face covering will be directed to use other ways of accessing the library or may be asked to leave.
Denise Davis, the interim library director, said the library was trying to balance service to the public and the health and safety of staff with the new rules, as well as manage disruptions that might occur because of COVID-19-related staff shortages.
The library has had eight positive cases among staff, 58 negative tests and 130 people affected by a COVID-19 situation, such as quarantine, board members were told.
Main library and Aboite, Dupont and Georgetown branches: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday and noon to 5 pm. Sunday at main library only
All other locations, except Monroeville and Woodburn: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday
Monroeville:10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday
Woodburn:10 a.m. to 1 p.m. to 2 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday
Curbside delivery hours
All locations, except Monroeville and Woodburn: 10 a.m. to noon and 3 to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday at main library only
Monroeville and Woodburn: 10 a.m. to noon and 3 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday