Gail Borden library buildings to close to public for three weeks
With COVID-19 cases surging in Kane County, the Gail Borden Public Library board of trustees voted unanimously to close all of their buildings to the public starting Friday.
The decision was made during a special board meeting held over Zoom Wednesday night.
"Libraries are in a very tough situation," said Chief Executive Officer Carole Medal. "There's concern for safety of staff and customers, and yet there's concern that a public library needs to assist and support its community. It's really tough."
The three buildings, which include the main library at 270 N. Grove Ave., the Rakow Branch at 2751 W. Bowes Road and the South Elgin branch at 127 South McLean Blvd., will remain closed to the public until Dec. 13. The board has a scheduled meeting on Dec. 8 when they will decide what they'll do going forward beyond that date.
Board members universally expressed concern for the community they serve, in particular, students who are nearing semester's end and the homeless as the weather turns colder.
"I want to help as many people as we can," said board president Jean Bednar. "In my heart, I want the library's services to still be available. But part of our job here is to make sure the staff is comfortable and safe."
A number of library services will remain available during the building closures.
The drive-up windows at the main and Rakow branches will be open, as well as curbside service at South Elgin and the Bookmobile contactless service.
The Mediabox at South Elgin will be available via curbside service. and the Rakow Mediabank will remain open. The content of the mediabanks at the main branch will be available through the drive-up service.
Reference services, home delivery for those who can't get to the library, virtual programming and printing services will all continue, in addition to other services.
Board members were open to the idea of making changes moving forward.
"The problem to me has been trying to balance our responsibility as an essential service with our responsibility to care for patrons and staff," said Trustee Patricia Harkin.
She acknowledged that closing to the public wasn't ideal, but said "we're making a decision for three weeks, not the rest of time.
"I think three weeks is a reasonable time for us to make the best adjustment we can to this situation."