Rolling Meadows Library reopens with 'grocery store' model, goes fine-free
The Rolling Meadows Public Library reopened this week, featuring a "grocery store" model where patrons can get what they need and check out.
But for now, there's no in-house programming or meetings, vending machines and water fountains are off limits, and you won't be able to sit and linger.
"We do hope to get back to lingering very soon!" Library Director David Ruff wrote in an announcement of the library's reopening, which took effect Monday with limited hours.
In order to provide some morning, evening and weekend hours for patrons, the library will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and 2 to 8 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. The building will be closed Sundays.
Computer availability is limited -- six computers are available in the Reference area and four in Youth Services, and time limits will be in place.
All circulation materials will be quarantined for three days before being re-shelved, per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. At the same time, the library is adding a significant number of e-materials to its collection online. That includes newspapers and magazines available digitally but not in print format.
The west parking lot is also a Wi-Fi hot spot for patron use.
Officials have installed sneeze guards at desks and aisle markers and floor decals as reminders to maintain a six-foot distance. Staff will be continuously moving through the building to clean surfaces, doorknobs and keyboards, Ruff said.
He said library hours and services will be expanded, and seating reintroduced, once health and safety restrictions are eased by the state.
The library reopening follows the library board's recent decision to go fine-free, part of a growing trend in the suburbs and nationally. Under the new policy, all old fines are forgiven and new fines won't be levied going forward, though patrons will still need to return materials to keep their library cards active.
Ruff said the vast majority of individual overdue fines was less than $2, while the library has been collecting less and less fine revenue in recent years. In 2016, the library collected about $20,000 in fines, but that number dropped to less than $15,000 in 2019.