Public libraries in Lancaster County will reopen with limited services as the County moves from Red to Yellow. The health and safety of patrons and staff are of highest importance, therefore not all services will be immediately available when libraries reopen, consistent with recommendations from the PA Office of Commonwealth Libraries. For example, the difficult decision has been made to cancel all holds requests for all library patrons of Lancaster County’s public libraries. Due to the limitations of the library database software, there was no easy way to fulfill patron holds while allowing for the safe and timely handling of library materials. Other services, like public use computers and in-person programming, will be available again once they can be provided safely and within CDC guidelines.
Strict procedures for the safe handling and quarantining of returned library items will be in place before print materials, CDs, and DVDs can be checked out to the public again. Many libraries will use a curbside delivery or pickup system to convey items to their patrons while maintaining recommended social distancing. The public is encouraged to contact their local library to find out what services will be available in their area.
Our libraries have remained open for business online throughout the stay-at-home order by expanding access to library cards, bolstering digital content, and offering virtual programming, but we are eager to get back to lending paper books and providing other in-person services. “We have missed our patrons as much as they’ve missed us. We’re eager to resume a lot of our physical, public-facing services, but we need to do it in a way that is safe and trustworthy,” says Karla Trout, Library System Executive Director. “It’s a new world for all of us, but we’re adapting to continue meeting the needs of our community.”
A few of our Lancaster County public libraries will remain closed at this time, until we can better safely accommodate the public and staff in those spaces. Visit https://lancasterlibraries.org for a list of public libraries in Lancaster and how to contact your local library, and check social media channels such as Facebook and Instagram for ongoing updates.