Libertyville, Vernon Hills libraries to reopen to public July 7

  • Joe Newman walks away from the Cook Park Library in Libertyville earlier this month with a copy of "The Annotated Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant." The library began allowing customers to borrow books using a limited-exposure system in late May, and it'll allow patrons inside starting Tuesday.

      Joe Newman walks away from the Cook Park Library in Libertyville earlier this month with a copy of "The Annotated Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant." The library began allowing customers to borrow books using a limited-exposure system in late May, and it'll allow patrons inside starting Tuesday. Russell Lissau | Staff Photographer

  • The Aspen Drive Library in Vernon Hills is set to reopen to patrons next week -- more than three months after it and its sister facility in Libertyville were shut down due to the COVID-19 crisis.

    The Aspen Drive Library in Vernon Hills is set to reopen to patrons next week -- more than three months after it and its sister facility in Libertyville were shut down due to the COVID-19 crisis. Daily Herald File Photo

 
 
Updated 7/1/2020 6:18 PM

After months of relative inactivity, the Cook Memorial Public Library District's two facilities are set to reopen to the public July 7.

"We've dearly missed our patrons and are excited to see them in person again, even if the in-library experience is a little bit different," Director David Archer said.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Patrons will be able to browse for books, DVDs and other materials at both the Cook Park Library in Libertyville and the Aspen Drive Library in Vernon Hills. They'll also be able use computer stations -- albeit for only one hour each day to reduce the chance of spreading the COVID-19 virus.

That's not the only pandemic-related safety rule that'll be in place.

Everyone will have to wear masks inside the buildings. Additionally, patrons will be required to use self-checkout stations that allow for social distancing, and a reduced maximum capacity in public areas will be enforced.

Seating areas, study rooms, digital studios, children's play areas and other amenities won't be available. Vending machines and drinking fountains will be out of service, too.

"It's a grab-and-go situation," Archer told the library board during its meeting Tuesday.

Clear, plastic shields will be installed at public desks, high-traffic areas will be cleaned regularly and programs will continue to be held online rather than in person.

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Although it will make stops at day care centers for teachers, the district's bookmobile won't resume visiting neighborhoods yet, Archer said.

As was the case throughout the Chicago area, Cook Memorial's facilities closed in March as the virus spread through the U.S. Since late May, however, patrons have been borrowing materials through a system that limits exposure to employees.

Returned items are collected in bins and isolated for four days to prevent virus transmission before being processed. That will continue, and patrons will be asked to return items via exterior slots.

Cook Memorial has the highest library circulation in Lake County, and nearly 50,000 items were checked out before the facilities closed because of the pandemic.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

To prevent employees from being overwhelmed, officials have requested people return items gradually. Late fines won't be assessed through Sept. 1.

"It'll help keep the patrons safe and the folks who work at the library safe," Trustee Jennifer Banek said.

Suburban libraries that have reopened to the public include the Lake Villa District Library, the Rolling Meadows Library and the Arlington Heights Memorial Library.

Mundelein's Fremont Public Library is set to open Monday, as are the Schaumburg Township District libraries.

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