Northwestern Press

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Berks County libraries prepare to reopen, begin curbside service

Thursday, June 25, 2020 by The Press in Local News

In response to the county’s transition to the “yellow phase” of the governor’s reopening plan, Berks County Public Libraries will begin offering curbside pickup service to patrons throughout June.

This is the first step of a phased reopening under guidance from the Office of Commonwealth Libraries and local officials.

Since mid-March when libraries in Berks County closed their doors to in-person service, library directors have been monitoring the COVID-19 situation and evaluating best practices to reopen safely for their patrons and staff.

At this time, buildings remain closed to the public as they enter into the first phase of the reopening process, but will offer curbside service to patrons for materials currently available from their location.

Patrons may request holds using the online catalog and will be notified when their order is ready to pickup.

All materials will be quarantined before returning to circulation.

“Each library developed its own phased-in approach to providing limited services during Gov. [Tom] Wolf’s designated yellow phase,” said Stephanie Williams, district consultant for the Reading Library District. “The Office of Commonwealth Libraries recently issued the framework for reopening libraries, supporting all public libraries in our efforts to safely provide in-person services again in our communities.

“Library staff will implement health and safety measures in accordance with guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and other agencies.”

Digital library service remains available to all county residents with a Berks County Public Library card.

Berks County residents without a card can apply online through the countywide catalog or register for an instant digital card until June 30.

Libraries continue to offer virtual programming online and through social media.

“Not all library services will look the same as in a prepandemic environment but libraries will continue to adapt and evolve as needed to best serve their community,” Williams said,

Each library will be following their own set of reopening guidelines which may not align with other locations.

This includes what date libraries will reopen for curbside service.

Individuals looking for the latest information about their library’s reopening procedure may visit or call their local library directly.