Warren libraries to stay closed through February

By: Brian Louwers | Warren Weekly | Published February 9, 2021 | Updated February 10, 2021 11:47am

 The Warren Library Commission met on Jan. 21 and voted to keep the city’s four branch libraries, including the Dorothy Busch Branch Library on Ryan Road, closed through the month of February.

The Warren Library Commission met on Jan. 21 and voted to keep the city’s four branch libraries, including the Dorothy Busch Branch Library on Ryan Road, closed through the month of February.

Photo by Brian Louwers

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WARREN — The Warren Library Commission met on Jan. 21 and voted to keep the city’s public libraries closed through the month of February.

“The Library Commission will be meeting soon to discuss reopening,” Warren Library Director Oksana Urban said on Feb. 4. “Until today, we are still closed until the end of February, but there will be a special meeting that we are going to be holding and they are going to discuss reopening.”

That meeting could be held on Feb. 11 or Feb. 18.  

Until then, Urban said curbside pickup continues to be available. Staff members are processing hold requests and will deliver materials to patrons in their vehicles while they wait.

“The phones have been ringing off the hook,” she said. “A lot of people love having curbside. They want to stay safe, and that’s the one way to do it and still get the materials they want.”

The Warren Public Library recently received a grant to purchase laptops reserved for community outreach programs. Mobile hotspots for internet access are also available. The Busch and Burnette branches on Ryan Road and Van Dyke Avenue, respectively, will be circulating additional laptop computers, accompanied by hotspots, that can be checked out for a week. Patrons wishing to check out a computer or a hotspot must have a library card in good standing.

Limited printing services are also available for emergencies, such as medical forms.

Urban said reopening for business as usual is something the staff wants, but that keeping everyone safe was a consideration of the Library Commission.

“They want staff as well as patrons to be safe,” Urban said.

While the libraries remain closed, she said staff members would be getting vaccinations ahead of an anticipated reopening.

“We’re happy to have the public come back in. We miss the public and I know the public misses us. We want to provide the best service we can, as the COVID virus allows us to do so. If (patrons) have any questions, they should always call the branch. We are here for them,” Urban said.

Warren Mayor Jim Fouts said the decision to keep the libraries closed was made by the commission but that he had concerns about reopening due to the projected spike in coronavirus deaths in January and the potential “convergence” of new strains that are spread more easily or are more resistant to vaccines.

“We have to keep that in mind,” Fouts said. “Those are worrisome. It does mean we have to keep safe distancing, we have to keep masks on. I think it would be ill-advised to open prematurely. I think we have to respect the experts.”

For much more information about Warren’s branch libraries, including hours, phone numbers, information about services and the latest on closures and reopening plans, visit www.warrenlibrary.net.

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