Hall County libraries will be reopening to the public next week with some exceptions and some new health and safety precautions in place.
"With schools resuming, we feel the services and resources provided by the Hall County Library System are more crucial than ever," said Hall County Library System Director Lisa MacKinney.
MacKinney said all library branches will reopen with health and safety protocols in place beginning Monday, Aug. 24 with the exception of the downtown Gainesville branch, which remains closed as final steps in that building’s remodeling project are completed.
"Although our Gainesville branch remains closed, we are still offering curbside service to anyone who utilizes that branch for their library needs," she said.
As for the branches that are reopening, the following represents just a few of the protocols that will be in place:
- Only virtual options will be available for library programming.
- Furniture that would encourage congregation will be marked off in an effort to promote social distancing.
- Meeting rooms and study rooms will be inaccessible.
- Masks are recommended for patrons; however, they are required for library staff.
- The public will be encouraged to visit the library in one hour increments in order to keep the number of people within a branch low.
- In-person services, such as notary and passport applications, will be available by appointment only.
- Computer areas will be arranged to promote social distancing.
As a reminder, a number of library resources are available at www.hallcountylibrary.org, including Tutor.com, GALILEO, E-read Kids, hoopla, and ReferenceUSA, which may serve as useful tools for students as the new school year begins-especially for those who are attending school remotely/virtually.
"Citizens can also take advantage of free wi-fi at the libraries, which can be picked up from the parking lot at any of our branches and is available without coming inside," said MacKinney.
More information about each library branch’s hours and availability for curbside service can be found on the Hall County Library System’s website, hallcountylibrary.org.
The reopening of library branches is just another step in Hall County’s multi-phase reopening plan following the closure of a number of County facilities earlier this year amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
"As always, the health and safety of both the public and our employees is our first priority,"Hall County Administrator Jock Connell said. "We will continue to carefully monitor the current health crisis and thoughtfully consider the safest ways to provide services to the citizens of Hall County."
Citizens are still encouraged to conduct County business remotely if possible. Many forms of business can be conducted via online conferencing platforms, email or phone. To find a list of Hall County departments and their contact information, click here.
Finally, a number of proactive steps Hall County has taken to date in regards to the coronavirus pandemic, along with a number of other helpful resources on this issue, can be found at ready.hallcounty.org.