The three branches of the Jefferson County Library system are expected to reopen its buildings to the public Monday (June 29), after closing in March because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition, the Festus Public Library is set to reopen Monday.
While the libraries have been offering curbside service for some time, the buildings had remained closed.
When the libraries open on Monday, there will be new hours, as well as new rules in place to allow social distancing between employees and patrons.
Also, the libraries will not be processing passports until further notice.
The De Soto and Crystal City libraries already have reopened to the public.
Jefferson County Library
The Jefferson County Library branches – Northwest (5680 Hwy. PP, in High Ridge), Arnold (1701 Missouri State Road), Windsor (7479 Metropolitan Blvd., in Barnhart) – will be open to the general public from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. In addition, the branches will be open from 9-10 a.m. each of those days only to seniors and those with serious health issues.
On Tuesdays, the branches will offer curbside pickup from 9-11 a.m. and then will be open to the public from 3-7 p.m.
On Thursdays, the branches will be open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., with curbside pickup available 5-7 p.m.
“We’re very much looking forward to having our patrons back,” said Pam Klipsch, Jefferson County Library director. “We’ve missed seeing them.”
In order to allow for social distancing, the different-sized branches will have the following limits on the number of visitors at a given time: Northwest, 83; Arnold, 58; Windsor, 41.
Hand sanitizer and disposable masks will be made available to all visitors. Klipsch said the use of masks will be encouraged, but not required.
Patrons will be asked to limit their visits inside the buildings to an hour in order to accommodate more people throughout the day.
Patrons will have access to computers for a variety of uses, but times will be limited to allow everyone a chance to use them.
“For the past two months we’ve been making modifications to our internal spaces and redesigning services to prepare for the day when we could reopen,” Klipsch said. “So it will look and feel different from the library you remember. Our priority has been to make sure we can reopen and keep our patrons and our staff safe. The last thing we want is for anyone to get sick because they visited the library.”
The library has waived all fines on materials checked out before the library system shut down March 17. Overdue fines will resume July 1. Patrons should continue to return items through the system’s outside book returns. Only items too large or too fragile for the outside returns are to be brought inside to library lobbies and deposited in designated bins starting Monday.
The library is not conducting in-house programs at this time or allowing for use of its meeting rooms.
Klipsch said she’s not sure how long the curbside pickup will continue to be offered.
“If people use it, we’ll continue to offer it,” she said. “If not, we would discontinue it.”
For more information, call a branch. Their numbers are: Northwest, 636-677-8186; Arnold, 636-296-2204; and Windsor, 636-461-1914.
Festus Public Library
The Festus Public Library also reopens its doors Monday. Its hours will be 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Social-distancing policies will be in place. Masks will be encouraged, but not required.
“The staff will all be wearing masks,” said Elizabeth Steffen, the library director.
Curbside pickup will remain available 3:30-6:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 3:30-4:30 p.m. Friday. The library will not offer programming and will no accept donations of materials until further notice.
She said four computers will be made available to the public.
“We’re excited to get all the patrons back,” Steffen said.
For more information, call the library at 636-937-2017.
De Soto Public Library
The De Soto Public Library reopened its building to patrons June 1, and Tony Benningfield, its director, said he is trying to spread the word to the public.
“Our doors are open!” he said. “It’s been really slow.”
The library’s hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
“We’re encouraging social distancing,” he said. “We’re strongly recommending masks, but not requiring them.”
He said the library’s meeting room is not available for public use because it is serving another purpose at this time.
“It’s our quarantine room for materials,” Benningfield said. “All materials returned are quarantined for 72 hours.”
He said his library is offering some, but not all, of its regular services.
“We’re still doing copying, faxing and notary services,” he said. “The big thing we can’t do are passports. That’s up to the federal government as to when we can do it again.”
He said his library has a virtual summer reading program. It is not taking donations of materials at this time.
For more information, call 636-586-3858.
Crystal City Public Library
The Crystal City Public Library reopened its building to visitors June 15. Its hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday.
“We want people to come on in,” said Tania Laughlin, the library director. “We’re doing social distancing.”
Curbside service only is available at the library 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday. Patrons may call for curbside pickup appointments during regular hours of operation Monday through Thursday.
Visitors to the building must wear masks, but masks are not provided, Laughlin said.
She said programming inside the library has been suspended, but the library is conducting a virtual summer reading program for children and adults.
For more information, call 636-937-7166.
Jefferson College Library
The library at Jefferson College’s Hillsboro campus normally is open not only to students but also to the community at large.
However, it has been closed to everyone since the COVID-19 shutdown, and it is not yet known when it will reopen, director of library services Lisa Pritchard said.
“We should be open soon,” she said.
The library is offering curbside pickup 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Thursday.
“That’s only for pickup,” Pritchard said. “Returns go to the bookdrop.”
“Chat services are available,” she said.
Chat services and other information about the library may be accessed at jeffco.edu/library.
The Jefferson College main line number is 636-797-3000.