Wauconda library preparing to launch curbside checkout

  • Wauconda Area Library patrons can return materials checked out before the COVID-19 crisis forced the facility to close to the public. They cannot yet borrow materials.

    Wauconda Area Library patrons can return materials checked out before the COVID-19 crisis forced the facility to close to the public. They cannot yet borrow materials. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer, 2019

 
 
Updated 6/3/2020 4:35 PM

After months of reduced service because of the COVID-19 crisis, Wauconda Area Public Library officials are readying a plan for curbside checkouts.

As has been the case for public libraries throughout the state, Wauconda's patrons haven't been able to enter the building at 801 N. Main St. or borrow materials since March.

 

Some suburban libraries are beginning to allow patrons to borrow or checkout materials, including the Cook Park Library in Libertyville, the Aspen Drive Library in Vernon Hills and the Arlington Heights Memorial Library.

Wauconda library board members will discuss possible checkout procedures for their patrons when they meet Monday night, Director Elizabeth Greenup said. Checkouts could begin later this month.

Board member Thea Morris said library leaders and employees are looking forward to serving patrons in person once more.

"We can't wait to see everybody again," Morris said. "But we have to do so safely and within reason."

Officials have been looking to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as other libraries for guidance on resuming services, Morris said.

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Even though patrons can't yet borrow items, the library has begun allowing people to return books, DVDs and other materials that were checked out before the building closed to the public. Most materials can be returned using book drops in the parking lot or at the front entrance.

People wishing to return telescopes or other large items should call the library to arrange a drop-off.

Overdue items have not been accruing fines.

Returned materials are being quarantined for seven days on tables in the library's meeting room, Greenup said. After quarantine, items are checked in and shelved.

Returned items are not being sanitized, a step some libraries are considering, or treated with ultraviolet light.

"Cleaning the materials will damage their surfaces," Greenup said. As for UV treatment, Greenup said research doesn't indicate it's good for killing the virus on books or DVDs.

Patrons had an estimated 15,000 items checked out when the library closed to visitors in March. Because of limited quarantine space, Greenup wants to get back as many of those items as possible before restarting checkouts.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

About 1,500 items have been returned so far, she said.

Greenup doesn't yet know when the building will reopen to the public.

Monday's library board meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m., and it will be held remotely because of the pandemic. People can observe via Zoom video conferencing software or by calling the library at (847) 526-6225. The Zoom meeting ID hasn't yet been released.

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