Local public libraries announce plans for phased reopening

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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – As businesses begin to slowly reopen, libraries in the Lowcountry announced phased reopening plans to allow them to start serving their customers again.

Charleston County’s plan will begin with the reopening of book drops at 16 locations on Monday, May 18, which will exclude the Poe/Sullivan’s Island branch which is set to reopen its book drop on June 8.

These book drops will allow people to return any items that were borrowed before the coronavirus shutdown began.

All fines incurred during the closure period have been waived and will be extended through June.

Items that are returned will be quarantined for 72-hours before being processes and re-shelved.

All Charleston County Public Library locations are scheduled to begin limited in-person services on Monday, June 8, with the ability to pick up books and other items that were placed on hold.

There could be amended hours during this time that will be announced at a later date.

With potentially bringing people back inside of their locations, Executive Director Angela Craig says that safety guidelines will be in place.

“We are going to make sure our staff has access to PPE. They will have the option to wear that, we will be encouraging them to do so. We are going to be very mindful that our buildings are not at capacity, so we might have our chairs removed for a time…we’re going to have more of a browsing experience..”

Angela Craig, Executive Director, Charleston County Public Libraries

Berkeley County Libraries will begin phase 1 of their reopening plan on Wednesday, May 20, which will include a curb side pick up service for people who have items on hold.

As of right now, they will not allow anyone inside of their buildings.

They will still have plenty of services to offer online.

“We do have our library card application online, so that library customers can continue to register online. We have our wireless network available….we have our ebooks, audiobooks and digital resources available as well.”

Gene Brunson, Library Director, Berkeley County Public Libraries

These phased reopening plans are subject to change as library officials continue to monitor any potential changes to CDC guidelines.

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