Lake Villa library to reopen but visiting will be different
The Lake Villa District Library will resume normal business at 9 a.m. Monday, but patrons will find their visit different from before the coronavirus pandemic.
"We've taken a measured approach thus far, implementing services in stages and now it's time to open our doors," library Director Mikael Jacobsen said.
To start, only 50 people at one time will be allowed into the library at 140 N. Munn Road. Face coverings and social distancing will be required.
The staff will count and monitor visitors but will take a flexible approach, said Nina Kenney, the library district's public relations/marketing coordinator. For example, if a 51st person wanted to quickly stop to pick up an item, they would be allowed, she said.
"The big idea is to come in and select your own materials but to keep your visit brief," Kenney said. Library materials will be processed and displayed for quick access, she added.
Safety measures will be in place and public seating/reading areas, study/meeting rooms, notary services, voter registration and in-person programs will not be immediately available.
Main-level public computers -- one, 2-hour session per person per day -- and the business center will be available with limited assistance, she added.
Restrooms, hand rails, door handles and other high-traffic areas will be cleaned and disinfected regularly and the facility will be thoroughly cleaned each night.
Curbside pickup, where patrons can reserve material online or by phone in advance will continue. Cardholders are encouraged to download the library's mobile app for touchless transactions, Kenney noted.
All returned materials are held for 72 hours before being checked in, sorted and shelved. Kenney said that's keeping with findings of an ongoing research study on how long the COVID-19 virus survives on materials prevalent in libraries called The Realm Project.
Before the pandemic, 350 to 500 people visited in a 12-hour day. The Restore Illinois plan suggests the library could open at 50% capacity but there was no official guidance so the library is being cautious and will continue to implement more services when it is safe to do so, Kenney said.
The $18 million Lake Villa District Library is more than twice the size of the former facility. It debuted last August on 29 acres fronting Crooked Lake in Lindenhurst.
Jacobsen, who started in May, said it has been an "amazing and exhausting" few months.
He added that with the support of the library board and knowledge of the staff, the library has been producing high-quality services such as virtual programs, digital content, electronic resources, curbside service and virtual reference.