Fremont library to begin curbside service next month
After being closed for two months because of the COVID-19 crisis, Mundelein's Fremont Public Library should begin offering curbside checkouts next month -- but book returns won't be allowed yet.
The library board on Thursday approved a plan to allow patrons who reserved books, DVDs and other materials before or during the shutdown to begin borrowing those items starting June 8.
Library staffers will begin processing new hold requests and offering live advisory services starting June 15, Director Scott Davis said.
Pickups will be limited to Fremont cardholders, and loans from other libraries won't be available.
Patrons won't be allowed to return items -- including those checked out before the closure began -- until more research into the possible transmission of the coronavirus from library materials is complete, Davis said.
Some libraries are accepting returns and quarantining items for up to a week before handling them. But that isn't good enough for Davis right now.
"While we are able to supply materials that are new or have been in quarantine for two-plus months, we are still not ready for materials to be returned to us," he said. "The health of our staff and patrons is our primary concern."
Late fees aren't an issue because the library doesn't fine patrons for most overdue materials.
Some suburban libraries launched curbside service this month, including those in Naperville, Elgin and Wheaton. The Schaumburg Township District Library will begin curbside service in early June.
Officials at other libraries, including the Cook Memorial facilities in Libertyville and Vernon Hills and the Vernon Area Public Library in Lincolnshire, have discussed reopening but haven't yet taken that step.
Fremont's proposal was developed in anticipation of Gov. J.B. Pritzker's moving the region into Phase 3 of the Restore Illinois recovery plan, Davis said.
Plans are also being developed to reopen the library building in phases.
Officials are discussing how many people will be allowed in the building simultaneously, how to maintain social distancing at computer stations and whether to provide special service hours for at-risk patrons.
During Thursday's meeting, which was held remotely because of the statewide stay-at-home order, Trustee Marla Wolf asked if patrons will have to wear masks in the library once it opens.
Davis said that's being considered but noted officials are "a ways away from letting the public into the building."
More on the library's plans is available at fremontlibrary.org/?q=coronavirus.