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 The Southfield Public Library, 26000 Evergreen Road, is getting ready to reopen its doors, which were shuttered in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Southfield Public Library, 26000 Evergreen Road, is getting ready to reopen its doors, which were shuttered in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

File photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Southfield library gearing up for reopening

By: Kayla Dimick | Southfield Sun | Published June 23, 2020


SOUTHFIELD — It’s been a long few months, and the staff at the Southfield Public Library is ready to welcome back their patrons.

According to library officials, staff have been working on a three-phase plan to reopen the library, which was closed in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Deputy City Librarian Mary Beall said the library is currently in the first phase, with the second phase soon approaching.

“We’re actually working on our plan right now. The first thing I want to mention is that — the city as a whole  — we’re doing this according to the CDC guidelines and the executive orders for libraries and retail.”

Currently, book drops are open for returns and no overdue fines will be charged until July 15.

“When they return the books, we quarantine them for 72 hours before we put them back on the shelf,” Beall said.

Patrons also still have access to electronic library research sources and can check out double the amount of downloadable and streaming items. The library is hosting online book discussions and story times, along with email services where patrons can ask a librarian questions or ask a tech expert for help.

The library’s summer reading program, Imagine Your Story, began June 19.

“One of the things we did right off the bat was we doubled the number of items for download and streaming services. So that’s double the chance to get movies and books and magazines,” Beall said. “Data usage went up as well. Every day we make sure we spotlight electronic services on our social media that patrons might not know about.”

On June 29, phase two will begin, Beall said, with drive-up and phone service.

Patrons can either call or email the library to have books and movies sent to the drive-up window for a touchless pickup service, Beall said, and the reference, reader’s advisory and tech help departments are open by phone or email.

If a Southfield or Lathrup Village resident doesn’t already have a library card, Beall said, they can apply for an electronic library card that works the exact same way a traditional library card does.

In this phase, all virtual programs and book discussions will continue, she said.

Beall said officials are still working on a date to get the third phase — “grab and go.” In this phase, all of the library’s virtual services will continue, but patrons can also use library spaces for structured periods of time in order to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, state, and city guidelines.

“We are going over all of our space, figuring out how we can design our traffic flow so people do keep good social distance and feel safe in the library,” Beall said. “We’ll have a rigorous cleaning schedule. … We’re planning all that out step by step. One of the things we’ve been looking at is an appointment system.”

With all the uncertainties that the pandemic has presented, library officials know at least one thing is for sure: They miss their patrons.

“The entire library misses our patrons. We’ve been missing you for months and months, and we can’t wait to see you again in person,” Beall said. “That’s why we’re trying to put everything together to make your return a safe and happy one.”

Outreach Librarian Kelly Rembert echoed Beall’s sentiments.

“We are so excited to see everyone again in a safe manner. Behind the scenes we are gearing up with virtual programs, beefing up our digital library to serve our patrons,” Rembert said in an email. “We look forward to serving the community online, drive-thru window and when we can do so safely in person.”

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