Outside book drops at Cobb County Public Libraries will reopen Tuesday, May 26th at all locations except two libraries, officials announced.
The opening of the book drops is a step in the first of the reopening phases for the Cobb libraries since the facilities closed in mid-March in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. No book drop service will be available at the Switzer Library as the facility in downtown Marietta is under renovation or at the Windy Hill Community Center Library.
Cobb library staff members will report to libraries Tuesday for safety training and to continue facility preparations. Staff also will begin quarantining returning items, processing hold requests and inventorying the collection.
To guard against exposure to the COVID-19 virus potentially lingering on surfaces, returned items will be in quarantine bins for a few days before library staff members process the books, audiobooks and other items for circulation. Patrons will continue to see returned items on their accounts until they are released from quarantine and checked in.
There are no late fees on materials originally due during the library system’s closure. The due date for all checked-out materials is extended to
May 31st June 10th.
Upcoming reopening phases also include curbside services weekdays at seven libraries starting June 10th to enable patrons to pick up reserved holds. The seven are the Mountain View, East Cobb, South Cobb, West Cobb, North Cobb, Sewell Mill, and Vinings libraries. The same seven libraries are tentatively scheduled to open with limited services in mid-June.
Expansion of limited services to the remaining libraries, except Switzer and Windy Hill, is anticipated to start in early summer, officials said.
No date has been set for complete, unlimited public access to Cobb libraries. Like area restaurants offering grab-and-go take-out service, library patrons will be directed to limit visits for checking out items at the libraries during the limited services phase.
The next time library visitors greet Cobb librarians and library workers, officials said, they should be prepared to see the staff wearing personal protection equipment (PPE), including face masks and more.
Cobb Library Director Helen Poyer said extensive behind-the-scenes efforts to protect the safety and health of library patrons, librarians and library workers have been ongoing since before libraries temporarily closed in mid-March. Guidance from Cobb & Douglas Public Health and support in planning for reconfiguration of furniture and library spaces for social distancing by the Cobb County Property Management Department are among the collaborative efforts for developing the reopening plan, she added.
The opening of each Cobb library book drop will be a watershed moment for the public reconnecting to Cobb libraries as anchor community institutions, Poyer said.
“Community support for Cobb libraries is deeply appreciated by the library staff,” Poyer said. “The positive messages we received over the past several weeks in calls, emails and through our social media in response to storytime and other virtual program postings and the library’s robust digital resources go far in powering us forward.”
The public is encouraged to watch for updates on library operations through each reopening phase, she said.
“Yes, we will rely on everyone’s understanding and patience as we work together through the challenging, and complex, demands on all of us as we work toward expanding operations again,” Poyer said. “You can count on Cobb library workers to serve as vital ‘second responder’ heroes with all community helpers.”
Updates to details about Cobb library operations and resources will be added to www.cobbcat.org throughout the reopening phases, officials said.
For information on Cobb libraries, call 770-528-2320.