The Clinton-Macomb Public Library Main Branch in Clinton Township, as well as the North Branch in Macomb Township and the South Branch in Clinton Township, are temporarily closed.

The Clinton-Macomb Public Library Main Branch in Clinton Township, as well as the North Branch in Macomb Township and the South Branch in Clinton Township, are temporarily closed.

Photo by Alex Szwarc

Clinton-Macomb Public Library branches temporarily close

By: Alex Szwarc | C&G Newspapers | Published March 24, 2020


MACOMB TOWNSHIP/CLINTON TOWNSHIP — The Clinton-Macomb Public Library branches are closed through at least April 5, but that doesn’t mean patrons will be left in the dark.

On March 14, CMPL sent a message to library patrons regarding the closures at all three locations –– two in Clinton Township and one in Macomb Township.

The letter states the closure is the library’s effort to join in reducing the spread of COVID-19 in the community.

COVID-19, which stands for coronavirus disease 2019, is caused by a virus named SARS-CoV-2 and first appeared in late 2019 in Wuhan, China.

CMPL Director Larry Neal said that one day before the closure was announced, it became clear that more and more public entities were being asked to curtail or eliminate the number gathering in one space at one time.

“Between the three libraries, there are 12,000 visits a week,” he said. “It’s a lot of traffic in and out of our buildings simultaneously.” 

The library’s letter to patrons read in part that, “We are sorry about closing the library, but it is more important for everyone to be safe and healthy during this difficult time.”

Due dates have been extended for any items checked out by three weeks. No overdue fines will accumulate while the library is closed.

In regard to items on hold, the library will keep an individual’s place in line for any items on hold. Patrons are welcome to place new holds on items.

“With schools being canceled, we’d get a lot of students, but we also get a lot of seniors, so putting those two populations together ‒ a super at-risk group and a not so at-risk group ‒ didn’t seem like the wisest decision for us,” CMPL Community Relations Specialist Jamie Morris said. 

The library asks patrons to not return any items at this time so shelves don’t become overloaded.

Neal said health officials don’t know how long the virus lives on surfaces.

“We’re treating everything like a quarantine,” he said. “The cleaning staff has been wiping things down, but as for the thousands of materials out there, we’ll treat it like it’s in quarantine for 10 days so that way our materials are completely safe.”

Once the library opens and materials begin coming back in, Neal said it’s impossible to wipe down all items, so inbound items will be untouched for a little while. 

“By the time we open, everything on the shelves should be in pristine condition,” Morris said. “Whatever was on the surface should’ve been unhandled and fine.” 

While it may be a good time to clean one’s house with folks staying home, the Friends of the Library have requested that people not drop off donations until the library reopens.

The library’s premium resources from home, accessible via a valid library card, include digital downloads, audiobooks, free music streaming, and more. 

From a staffing perspective, the management team remains at work, with the plan for  full-time staff to eventually be allowed back during the closure and then part-time staff. Neal said all staff scheduled to work through April 5 will be paid. 

With the exception of the 2003 blackout, which caused the library to close for four days, this is the first time it will be closed for an extended period.

As a gesture of goodwill, Neal said the library is working to unblock folks’ library cards even if it has not been renewed.

People can keep up on the latest CMPL news via its social media sites on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.