Library looks to state and study before reopening

Southwest Public Libraries (SPL) has extended closure of its two locations, Grove City Library and Westland Area Library, as leaders continue to work out plans for a safe reopening.

Timing remains dependent on evolving state and federal guidelines, the results of a Battelle study investigating the longevity of COVID-19 on library materials, and acquisition of appropriate sanitation supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE) for the safety of patrons and staff.

Proper protocol for safe handling of library materials is essential to reopening, which is why SPL and other central Ohio libraries are eagerly anticipating the results of Battelle’s study. The study is the result of a partnership between Battelle, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and OCLC, a global library cooperative headquartered in Dublin. The specific conclusion date of the study is unknown, but results are not expected for several weeks. SPL has current plans for a phased reopening beginning with limited curbside service. Until libraries know the results of the study, however, complete plans cannot be finalized.

“We’re anxious to reopen our doors and serve our patrons in person again, but we must do so safely and responsibly,” says SPL Director Mark Shaw. “Patron and staff safety remain of great priority.”

Even as SPL prepares for a safe reopening, the library continues to serve patrons digitally and expand digital offerings. Patrons are invited to enjoy new digital programming including virtual storytimes and library live chats with staff. WiFi access hours from library parking lots have been extended to be available 24/7. Signal strength cannot be guaranteed; SPL apologizes for any inconvenience. Digital resources such as e-books, e-audiobooks, streaming music and movies, and more are available at the library’s website Patrons are encouraged to visit SPL’s social media and website for the latest updates and resources.

Book drops remain closed currently, and hold and due dates have been readjusted. Patrons are asked to hold on to materials and disregard any due notices they receive at this time. While the library is closed, nothing is due, no fees will accrue, and reserves will not be sent back.

Southwest Public Libraries serves southwest Franklin county and surrounding areas through its two branches, the Grove City Library and Westland Area Library. The library system provides access to millions of items through a consortium partnership with 17 central Ohio libraries and offers an array of services including public PCs, meeting rooms, and vibrant programs for all ages.

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