Library Remains Open: “Parking Lot Pickup” To Continue, Replaces Browsing

Entrance to Mount Prospect Public Library at 10 S. Emerson St. (Photo of Journal File)

Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the Mount Prospect public library has again closed for self-service access. However, it remains open and offers services to residents.

During the Board of Trustees meeting on November 19, the Library Council members discussed part of their Pandemic Response Plan, which looked at how the library would continue to function during the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Su Reynders, executive director of the Mount Prospect Public Library, told Journal & Topics that the library continues to provide comprehensive services. They just don’t let people rummage inside.

“I want to emphasize the fact that our Mount Prospect residents can still get their hands on all of the materials the library has to offer,” Reynders said.

In order to keep the library open, they make items available either via their “pick-up from the parking lot” or via the home delivery service.

For collection, residents can reserve items online or by phone in the library. When an item is available, they schedule a pickup time and then arrange a contactless pickup in the library parking lot.

Residents who cannot make it to the library can also request items to be delivered to their home. Reynders said this service is available to everyone.

The library also goes to great lengths to quarantine items after they are returned to minimize exposure to the virus. According to Reydners, all returned items will not be touched for 72 hours as recommended by RAILS (Reaching Across Illinois Library System).

The recommendation came from the Reopening of Archives, Libraries and Museums (REALM), a study on how to use materials to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

To help residents who need internet access, the library has circulated a number of Chromebooks, each of which can be hotspotted for two weeks. Residents who have a device but no internet service can check out hotspots.

The library has also improved access to its WiFi services. Before the pandemic, the WiFi was only switched on during operating hours. According to Reynders, the library is now leaving its WiFi network around the clock. They also increased the signal and the distance the WiFi reaches. Reynders said this could allow people to use the WiFi from outside the library and in their cars in the parking garage. No password is required and the WiFi is free.

At the moment, Reynders does not know when the library will allow residents to enter the building.

“We don’t know how long this will take. We are monitoring recommendations and restrictions from the governor, county, and Illinois Department of Public Health to see what they recommend. We watch the cases in Mount Prospect increase. I wish I could say we have an outstanding appointment, but there isn’t one, ”said Reynders.

“I hope it’s sooner rather than later.”

Residents can call the library at 847-253-5675 to reserve items or for more information.

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