Arlington Heights Memorial Library to reopen Friday

  • The Arlington Heights Memorial Library will reopen Friday for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic forced a shutdown in March.

      The Arlington Heights Memorial Library will reopen Friday for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic forced a shutdown in March. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer, 2009

 
 
Updated 6/23/2020 9:27 PM

Coinciding with the start of Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois plan, the Arlington Heights Memorial Library plans to reopen Friday with limited hours and services.

Library doors will open at 9 a.m. at first for older adults and those with underlying health conditions, and at 10 a.m. for the general public.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

But capacity will be limited to 150 people, and officials are asking people to limit their visits to an hour at a time.

"We want to be able to accommodate the needs of the community as quickly as possible and as safely as possible as well," said Mike Driskell, the library's executive director.

To that end, all patrons over age 2 will be required to wear a mask, practice social distancing and follow directional signage, such as going one way down bookcase aisles, officials said.

The library staff has installed plexiglass at service desks and is encouraging patrons to use self-checkout stations, which are spaced out from one another.

A limited number of public computers are also available for up to an hour at a time, and they will be cleaned in between visits, Driskell said.

While some large sofas remain, most of the tables and chairs have been removed, and the second floor -- with its ample meeting rooms -- is off limits for now.

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At the same time, virtual services and programming will continue, officials said.

The new limited library hours are 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays. The first hour every Friday is reserved for vulnerable populations -- including seniors and those at higher risk for severe illness -- though those hours could later be expanded, said library spokeswoman Mary Hastings.

Hastings said a greeter will be posted at the front entrance on Dunton Avenue to monitor capacity and mask usage. If someone is unable to wear a mask for medical reasons and needs special accommodations for a library visit, they are asked to contact accessibility@ahml.info or (847) 870-3642.

Also starting Friday, the drive-up window in the underground parking garage will open, replacing the curbside pickup service that's been in place for weeks. Return bins near the Dunton entrance and parking lot are open, and there's a new one available in the exterior parking lot during library hours. Remote return bins at the Senior Center and Camelot and Frontier parks have also reopened.

The library had 64,000 materials checked out when the building closed, and quarantines items for a few days once returned.

Book donations are not being accepted until further notice.

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