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Libraries adapt COVID-19 protocols to allow browsing, computer hours

A few libraries are opening up an ‘express service’ for patrons.
Published: Oct. 15, 2020 at 11:47 AM CDT
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DODGEVILLE, Wis. (WMTV) - After shutting down for weeks in the spring due to COVID-19 concerns, some libraries are beginning to reopen.

In June, the Waunakee Public Library opened for grab-and-go service and more recently opened fully for an express browsing service. Library staff allow a certain number of people to browns in the collections at one time.

Waunakee Public Library Director Erick Plumb says that it’s important people have access to the building.

“We’ve worked really hard to try and make this as safe as possible,” said Plumb. “We feel very strongly that given our role in the community and in the investment that Waunakee made that we need to serve as many people as safely as possible.”

In August 2019, Waunakee officially opened the new library with expanded programming planned in 2020.

“We were disappointed that COVID-19 altered those plans, but we’re thrilled that whenever the pandemic ends, this building is built,” said Plumb.

Verona Public Library is also open to the public under limited hours and with select browsing space.

Stacey Burkhart, the Verona Public Library Director, says many patrons shared how much they missed being in the space in person.

“We’ve gotten more thank-you cards during the pandemic than we’ve ever had before from the public,” said Burkhart. “We really do see that they appreciate the work that we’re doing.”

Both the Verona Public Library and Waunakee Public Library is offering curbside pick-up for those who don’t yet feel comfortable browsing.

Dodgeville Public Library is also open to the public. Library Director Vickie Stangel says that many people are taking advantage of having a place to pick up a book or movie.

“As things come up, we ask ourselves how can we take our normal services and resources and make them available to people either online or more conveniently in person in a safer way,” said Stangel.

Earlier this year, the community voted to approve a referendum to build a brand new library. Due to COVID-19, that project is now on hold.

“Our goal was that if we got a ‘yes’ in February, we could be breaking ground before winter,” said Stangel. “At this point the city council is not comfortable moving ahead with it because they don’t know what the future holds.”

Stangel says that Dodgeville Public Library is looking to build a space that’s about 25,000 square feet to adequately serve the population in Iowa county.

To explore what the services are being offered at the libraries mentioned in this story, click on the links below:

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