HCLS Reopening with Limited Capacity on April 5

A woman, with a ponytail and glasses and wearing a light brown corduroy coat, reaches for a book off a library shelf.

One year ago HCLS closed for what we thought would be two weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As it quickly became apparent that this was going to be a much longer closure, HCLS pivoted – teaching classes virtually, making more eContent (e.g., eBooks, eAudiobooks, movies, online classes) available, and working with partners to address the growing and serious needs of our community. The library’s executive team began preparing for a phased reopening, seeking guidance from public health experts and industry leaders. At all times, the health, safety, and well-being of staff and customers remained the top priority. 

We’re excited to welcome you back! 

Beginning Monday, April 5, HCLS will open for limited in-person services. Passport services will resume at the East Columbia Branch. Contactless pickup and Bundle Bags will continue to be available at all branches. Watch for details about how to sign up for 45-minute appointments in the coming weeks. 

As we prepare to move to Phase 4 of our reopening plan, please know that the return to our branches will not be a return to a pre-pandemic environment. We will continue to follow guidance from public health experts to prioritize the health and safety of our staff and customers. 

Starting April 5, you can make a 45-minute appointment to: 

  • Access public computers 
  • Browse the shelves 
  • Check out items using self-checkout machines or our new Meescan app  
  • Print, copy, scan, and fax 
  • Ask staff for in-person assistance finding materials or other resources 
  • Apply for a passport (East Columbia Branch only) 

Quarantining of Items 

Effective Monday, March 22, HCLS will no longer quarantine materials. This decision was made in consultation with local health officials based on the current data. There are no known transmission of COVID-19 through contaminated books or other library materials in any library.  

As understanding of the COVID-19 virus evolves, scientists and experts now know that materials can be safely handled without quarantine. National and local health officials continue to emphasize the importance of frequent, thorough 20-second hand washing. Data shows that hand washing is effective at reducing transmission of COVID-19. 

Thank you!

Thank you for your support and flexibility during this unprecedented time. Your comments, which are posted on our website, have been greatly appreciated by our staff. 

Thank you for your ongoing support and for taking good care of yourselves and others. We look forward to seeing you soon! 

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