Socially distant book browsing: St. Johns County Libraries enter Phase One reopening

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – Public libraries reopen in St. Johns County Tuesday morning, but under Phase One reopening for the state of Florida, social distancing guidelines will have to be in place.

In the world of coronavirus, that means no book browsing, at least, not in person, explained Bartram Trail Library Manager Dan Markus.

New guidelines at the Bartram Trail branch include:

  • Limits on the number of people. The library will only allow 10 to 15 people inside at a time.
  • Orders and books must be reserved online in-advance
  • People will not be allowed inside the branch until a notification marks an order as ready
  • Events and classes will be held virtually

If you visited the library while it was doing curbside service pickups, Markus said, it’s essentially the same thing.

“We’re calling it ‘grab-and-go.' It’s basically our curbside service that we did before where you could come to pick up your holds, now you’ll go inside and pick up your holds.”

The Bartram Trail branch plans to isolate returned-materials for 96 hours in order to prevent any chance coronavirus could be spread from person to book to another person. More guidelines are in place for staff.

“We’ll all be wearing masks and we’ll probably have some kind of sneeze guard type barrier up, plexi glass. So it won’t be exactly the same but I know people will be having to get back in the building and see what it looks like now with the new carpet and see their friends the staff and get their books,” Markus said.

According to the CDC, COVID-19 is a new disease and we are still learning about how it spreads. It may be possible for COVID-19 to spread in other ways, but these are not thought to be the main ways the virus spreads.

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