Starting Thursday, the Longmont Public Library will close most inside access to its building at 409 Fourth Ave. and return to mostly curbside services.
All online library services and programs will continue, however, according to a Wednesday news release, and there will be, staff said in a news release, “very limited public computer access” at walk-up computer work stations inside the building’s east entrance.
The move to curbside services was under consideration and being planned before Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and Boulder County Public Health announced Tuesday that Boulder County was moving to a “red” level of COVID-19 restrictions and responses, Longmont Public Library spokesperson Teresa Myers said Wednesday.
Library staff said in the news release that the decision to close the library’s doors was being made “reluctantly” but is “an effort to slow the infection rate of COVID-19.”
The library’s curbside delivery service, available since late May during the coronavirus pandemic, will continue to offer patrons a means to retrieve library materials. People can place books, DVDs, audiobooks, book bags and kits and more on hold through the library’s online catalog and then retrieve them on the east side of the library along Emery Street.
Once patrons receive a notice that their material is ready to pick up, they can take their cell phone to the library’s east entrance and call 303-651-8476 when they arrive.
Library staff will check out the materials for the patrons and tell them on which table their items will be placed. Staff will place the items on the table, and patrons pick them up, with no close contact.
People needing to return items can do so in the two outside book drops, also on the library’s east side. Large items, such as book bags and kits, can be placed in a large trolley designated for that purpose and stationed outside.
Very limited public computer access will be available inside, by reservation only, for 15-minute appointments. Library patrons will be permitted to make one computer reservation per week, and users will need a library card to make a reservation and access the computers.
Computer users must have a basic understanding of computers, since technical assistance from library staff will be very limited. Only one patron at a time may use a computer station, and users must be age 14 or older. Additional details and computer reservation instructions are available at bit.ly/LibComputing.
“The decision to retain some limited computer access was based on the growing awareness that a larger segment of our community than even we were aware of relies on the library as their primary and sometimes sole, access to the internet,” Myers said in an email.
“Many of these people don’t have smartphones or any other means of connecting to the internet outside the library, and they need to conduct very essential business, such as applying for jobs or benefits, having telehealth appointments, and other important activities. So we made the decision to try our best to keep access to the computers open, at least in some limited way,” Myers said.
Library staff said in the news release that the library’s recently upgraded remote, mobile printing service remains available. With this service, patrons can send print jobs to the library from any digital device or computer and then pick them up later through the curbside delivery service. Complete instructions are available at bit.ly/PrintAtLibrary.
People without an existing Longmont Public Library account can obtain a limited-use digital library card online that provides complete online access to library services and materials. Details and the online form are available at bit.ly/LibDigitalCard. Current library cardholders do not need a limited-use digital card for any reason.
Patrons with library fines or fees may pay them through the library’s new online payment service at bit.ly/PayLibFines.
Library staff will continue to be in the building, answering phones and gathering materials for patrons, and can be reached via phone and email. Contact details are provided on the library’s homepage, tinyurl.com/y4frjhnw. Curbside deliveries, and library hours, will continue to be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.. Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesdays.