Lake County libraries restrict access as COVID-19 case spike
The Warren-Newport Public Library in Gurnee is set to resume curbside service this afternoon, five days after closing because a staff member was exposed to someone with COVID-19, but the building will remain closed to the public.
Warren-Newport is one of several Lake County libraries limiting hours or closing temporarily because of the worsening pandemic.
Grayslake Area Public Library, Wauconda Area Library and Fremont Public Library in Mundelein are offering curbside service only, the Antioch Public library has shortened its hours, and the Lake Villa District Library in Lindenhurst plans to close Wednesday.
Warren-Newport Executive Director Ryan Livergood said Monday the employee who was exposed has not tested positive for COVID-19. While the staff member interacted with other library workers, the employee did not have contact with the public, he added.
Livergood said he is keeping the library closed to the public because of the acceleration of positive cases in the area.
"It's quite frightening, and I hope people are taking it seriously," he said.
Like at other libraries, patrons can reserve materials by either calling ahead or using Warren-Newport's online catalog and then collect them through curbside pickup. Unless additional assistance is required, patrons will have to park and walk to an area near the front door to collect materials they've checked out.
While the building was closed over the summer, Warren-Newport boosted its Wi-Fi hot spots so people could have internet access from the parking lot.
Livergood said the library also has purchased 50 Wi-Fi systems that are available for patrons to check out and take home. The equipment has proved popular, but he said there are still several available to borrow.
"We're going to provide as much service to patrons as it is possible for us to safely provide," Livergood said. "I know people are disappointed when we have to do things like this. It's frustrating. It's really frustrating, but we're doing the best we can."
Livergood said curbside assistance will be available from noon to 6 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, from noon to 5 p.m. on Fridays and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays.
Though the Lake Villa District Library building will close Wednesday, reference services and curbside pickup for library items, craft kits and program materials will continue to be available.
The library staff will be available by phone or online to answer reference questions, assist with placing items on hold or accessing the digital collection and electronic resources. Visit www.lvdl.org/ for hours and information.
The materials return will remain open, and all returns are held in quarantine for a number of days before being checked in, sorted and shelved.