DOYLESTOWN >> With Bucks County moving into the COVID-19 Yellow Phase by June 5, the county's free library branches and member libaries are getting ready to reopen.
"We are eager to restore services so we can help those who depend on us," said library officials in a press release. "We will continue offering all the remote services that have been available since we closed on March 14. While we have set out an approximate timeline for restoration of other services, please be aware that the timeline may change because the situation remains fluid."
As directed by the Pennsylvania Office of Commonwealth Libraries, the library system has adopted phased-in re-opening plans so it can serve the public safely. Libraries will be following all requirements set out by the Commonwealth in its business orders for operational and building safety as they re-open.
Because of differing needs for preparation, not all libraries will be able to restore services on the same dates. The plan gives date ranges to account for unknowns, such as backorders for disinfectants or other safety supplies and equipment.
Check your library’s website or call to find out more detailed information. You’ll find contact information for all Bucks County libraries at buckslib.org/locations. BCFL’s Library Service Restoration Plan can be seen at buckslib.org/COVID-19.
Three Phases of Re-Opening
· In the first phase, which begins June 8, staff will return to the buildings. For about two weeks they will handle backlogs of materials and reconfigure the buildings to support social distancing.
· In the second phase, toward the end of June, most libraries will offer curbside pickup.
· In the third phase, about mid-July, the system will open its buildings to the public.
Phase One Begins June 8: Library Users May Return Items
· Starting Monday, June 8 library users can return items to book drops. You may see that a library has set out boxes or other receptacles to handle the extra influx of materials.
· There are more than 165,000 items in people’s homes across the county. Because of the volume, library directors are asking people to try to use a “birthday rule” in the next few weeks when bringing things back. If your birthday is on an even numbered date, try to return items on an even date. If it’s on an odd date, try to return materials on an odd date. This will help control the flow of materials so they don’t have to shut down book drops that become over-filled and unusable.
· All returned items will be quarantined for 72 hours before they can be processed. It may take several days for returned items to be cleared from your account. Please be assured the library system will not charge late fees during this time.
· No libraries are accepting book donations. Please do not bring any donated items to the library.
Phase Two Begins Between June 18-25: Curbside Pick-Ups & Online Summer Quest
· Most libraries in Bucks County will be offering curbside services. Be aware that if something is on the shelf at your pick-up library you will receive it more quickly than an item that needs to be shipped from another library.
· Patrons will be able to request items for pickup by placing a hold in the catalog or calling the library.
· The library will let patrons know by e-mail or phone when the order is ready. Patrons may then set up an appointment for pickup. When they come to pick up materials they must wear a mask and practice social distancing. Signs will direct patrons to the pickup point. Depending on the library, patrons will either text or phone and someone will bring your items to you. The materials will already be checked out and patrons will be given a receipt.
· Libraries will not be accepting returned materials at curbside because they must be quarantined. If patrons need to return materials they wll be asked to put them in the book drop or other receptacle.
· Libraries are not accepting payments at curbside. If patrons need to make a payment on their account the library will ask that they make an online payment at the time a curbside order is placed.
· Summer Quest: Summer Quest kicks off on Saturday, June 20 as an online program with reading challenges, limited-edition badges, and live streaming performances. Visit the Summer Quest page for details on all the fun: buckslib.org/summerquest. The library will post information on summer programs on its websites and social media.
Phase Three Begins Between July 6-13: Buildings Open
· Bucks County libraries are targeting early to mid-July as when they will open to the public. Collections will be available for browsing and checkouts. Computers and seating areas will be available.
· Staff will be wearing masks and practicing as well as enforcing social distancing. Signs near service desks and checkouts will be in place to indicate where to line up or wait for help.
· Library users will be required to wear masks and practice social distancing while in the library.
· Per Pennsylvania’s business orders, libraries must limit the number of people in the library to no more than 50 percent capacity. Patrons will see when they enter the library that computers and furniture have been moved or removed to allow for social distancing.
· Depending on how busy the library is, patrons may need to wait to enter until others leave. The busiest libraries will enforce per-person time limits for computer use and length of time inside the library.
· In all cases, libraries will be following all requirements set out by the Commonwealth in its business orders for operational and building safety.
Bucks County Free Library Re-Opening Plan Summary
Phase 1 Begins June 8 - Libraries are closed to the public; book returns are open; libraries offer phone service; library users may place holds and make purchase suggestions; book and materials donations are NOT accepted; no late fees; and remote services continue.
Phase Two Begins Between June 18-25 with Curbside Pick-Ups - Libraries are closed to the public; Curbside pickups begin; Summer Quest activities are offered online; No late fees; Remote services continue
Phase Three Begins Between July 6-13 - Libraries are open to the public with limited service and hours; Curbside pickups continue; Remote services continue.