Coronavirus In Ohio: Some Libraries Reopening Across The State

May 14, 2020

The Columbus Metropolitan Library system has announced plans to slowly begin reopening this month.

In an email Thursday, Columbus Library CEO Patrick Losinski announced that three branches will begin offering curbside pickup on May 18.

The service will be available at the Gahanna, Hilliard and Parsons locations Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m., and Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.

"This curbside pickup will be contact-free and allow you to drop off materials and pick up reserves," Losinki's note reads. "You may return items through the Book Return slots at our Gahanna, Hilliard and Parsons branches during those hours as well, and returned materials will be handled by staff wearing masks and gloves and will be quarantined for 72 hours, as outlined by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)."

Columbus Library's other 20 branches will remain closed for now, although the library hopes to expand curbside pickup later this month. For now, no public access will be allowed into any of the buildings.

Some other libraries throughout Ohio are also announcing they will be reopening soon. 

Cuyahoga County Public Library plans to reopen half of its branches on June 1 with strict social distancing guidelines and disinfecting. The 13 locations won't allow people inside, but book pickups and drop-offs will be permitted. The library aims to reopen all locations by September.

It might take a little longer for others to reopen their doors.

The Akron-Summit County Library will keep all locations closed until June, but announced that late fees will be waived.

A working group of libraries has been developing a plan to safely open. The Ohio Library Council’s Michelle Francis says they need to make sure they can bring their staff into their building and operate safely.

“To make sure they have enough PPE for their employees and to make sure they are able to customize or alter their physical spaces," Francis says.

Francis says some libraries might only open part of their operation at first – for instance, some may do just drive through pick-ups or offer only computer labs. But she says all libraries throughout the state will require employees to wear a mask and it will be up to those individual libraries to decide whether to require patrons to do the same.sts

Columbus closed all of its libraries on March 13 to help limit the spread of the coronavirus.