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Rochester Public Libraries to open Monday: “We’ve missed everybody, we’re looking forward to it”

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Rochester Public Libraries will reopen Monday with limited service and adjusted hours.

“We’re really excited to welcome community back and we’ve missed everybody, and we’re looking forward to it,” said Associate Director of Monroe County Library System Adam Traub.

In-person browsing, research and selected services will be offered at Arnett, Maplewood, Winton, Lincoln and the Central Library. Curbside pickup-only services will be offered in Charlotte, Sully, Wheatley, Lyell, Monroe and Douglass locations.

The Rundel Building of the Central Library will remain closed, but the research and exhibit access will be available by appointment only.

Traub said staff has been preparing to open safely. He said each location has been reconfigured to help visitors and staff maintain proper social distancing guidelines, which will be enforced.

“We’ve spent a lot of time and energy to think about what signs we need, what decals on the floor, what lines, what services we can provide safely and what services to hold off on for now,” Traub said. There will be no in-person events or programs beyond selected services offered at this time.

Traub said there is a reason not all locations can open for full in-person services. “For our smaller libraries, trying to maintain social distancing was harder than others,” he said. There is no set date for those curb-side locations to open for in-person – Traub said they have to wait and see to work up to that point. “So we decided to start slowly, work with larger spaces first to make sure we were doing it right, and then we can roll it out to others,” he said.

Visitors can expect a health screening process right upon walking into the doors. That includes a health questionnaire and a temperature check.

Traub said some furniture has been removed for the time being, and there will also be plexiglass shields in computer areas.

“Things will be a little different from the get-go but we’re hoping by slowly ramping up our services we can do it safely and regularly evaluate, and then hopefully offer more regular services,” Traub said.

Traub said in times like these, libraries have proven to play a critical role.

“Right now the economy is not doing so well. In a recession, libraries have proven they are critical in getting people back on their feet,” Traub said.

He said many of the Rochester Public Libraries, even when closed, have offered resume review services for people during the pandemic.

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