Mundelein's Fremont Public Library could reopen to patrons July 6
Officials with Mundelein's Fremont Public Library are preparing to reopen the building to patrons for the first time since pandemic-prompted shutdowns began in mid-March.
The library board on Thursday approved a plan to welcome customers back into the building starting July 6 as long as Illinois is in Phase 4 of Gov. J.B. Pritzker's COVID-19 recovery model. That could happen next week.
The board's decision means Fremont, at 1170 N. Midlothian Road, could become the first library in Lake County -- and among the first in the Northwest suburbs -- to reopen its doors.
Library leaders haven't finalized all the details, but staff and patrons will be required to follow health directives, such as wearing masks and practicing social distancing, Director Scott Davis said. Directional arrows and line-spacing markers are planned, and plastic barriers will be installed at some service desks.
Patrons will be able to browse shelves, use computer stations and copy documents, Davis said. However, computer users will have time limits and people will be asked not to linger as long as usual.
Pritzker's virus-related restrictions and the subsequent recovery plan didn't directly address libraries. So, Davis has used guidelines for retail stores, restaurants and offices to direct the library's path back to full service.
Davis said he wants to wait until Pritzker declares Illinois is in Phase 4 of the recovery plan because state officials haven't yet released detailed guidelines for that stage.
"By waiting until Phase 4 to open, we hope to be able to provide a more traditional library visit than if we opened now during Phase 3," Davis said. "The services we offer and any time or checkout limits placed on patrons will be influenced by whatever applicable public health directives and guidance we learn of between now and then."
Fremont began curbside checkouts of reserved items last week. Materials can't be returned yet, however.
Many suburban libraries have launched curbside services, but few have opened their buildings to patrons.
The Poplar Creek Public Library District facilities in Streamwood and Hanover Park are set to open Monday, The Arlington Heights Memorial Library is scheduled to reopen its doors June 26 if the state is in Phase 4 of the recovery plan.
Starting Monday, the Mount Prospect Public Library will allow people inside by appointment only to use its computers. Patrons won't be allowed to look for books or other materials, though.