Suburban libraries halting programs because of COVID-19 surge

The number of suburban libraries canceling in-person programming because of rising COVID-19 infection rates is growing.

Among the latest is the Wheeling-based Indian Trails Public Library District, which this week halted all in-person events scheduled for January.

Also this week, the Lake Villa District Library canceled in-person story sessions for young patrons and their families for the month.

"The targeted audience of story times are unable to be vaccinated at this point," Director Mikael Jacobsen said. "We are pausing them out of an abundance of caution."

Officials haven't yet decided if those sessions will be held virtually or canceled.

Libraries in Elgin, St. Charles and other towns have taken similar steps.

The decision at Indian Trails applies to programs both at the main library in Wheeling and the branch in Prospect Heights.

Fifty programs originally planned to be held in person now will be virtual, spokeswoman Jen Schmidt said. Six were canceled, but they could be rescheduled down the road.

"In order to keep providing services to our members, we've developed, practiced and implemented a system where we can pivot from in-person to virtual programming quickly and efficiently," Schmidt said.

People who signed up for library programs can check their email to see if the activities will be offered virtually. Patrons also can check the library's events calendar at for updates.

At the Lake Villa library, storytimes for kids aren't the only programs being altered because of the pandemic. All book discussions will be held virtually now.

Most already are virtual, Jacobsen said.

Any other program changes will appear on the library's event calendar, Jacobsen said.

Elsewhere, the Elgin-based Gail Borden Public Library District has ceased in-person activities for the rest of January, too.

The St. Charles Public Library has canceled in-person events and programs through Jan. 14. And the Batavia Public Library canceled a book sale scheduled for this Saturday.

Officials at the Northbrook Public Library are monitoring COVID-19 infection data to determine if program cancellations will be necessary.

"That being said, we have very few in-person programs," Executive Director Kate Hall said. "We are not yet doing in-person programming for kids under 12 ... (and) we did not schedule any teen programs for January because of finals and some other activities."

• Daily Herald staff writers David Oberhelman, Susan Sarkauskas, Rick West and Mick Zawislak contributed to this report.

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