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Dauphin County Library System announces plans to partially reopen 4 locations

The locations will open Friday as part of a phased reopening plan.
Credit: Shutterstock

DAUPHIN COUNTY, Pa. — The Dauphin County Library System announced Monday it will partially reopen four locations this week as part of a phased reopening plan.

The first libraries that will reopen Friday are:

  • East Shore Area Library, 4501 Ethel Street, Lower Paxton Township. 
  • Madeline L. Olewine Memorial Library, 2410 N. Third Street, Harrisburg. 
  • William H. & Marion C. Alexander Family Library, 200 W. Second Street, Hummelstown. 
  • Elizabethville Area Library, 80 N. Market Street, Washington Township. 

The libraries will be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday.

The one exception are Elizabethville, which is closed on Monday.

The East Shore Area Library will also be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sundays, library officials said in a press release.

There will also be a seniors-only hour, from 10-11 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, officials said.

In keeping with the precautions called for under Pennsylvania’s yellow phase, there will be a limited number of members permitted to enter the building only to use the computers, which have been repositioned to ensure proper social distancing, according to officials.

Library members can also order books and other materials online and arrange for curbside pickup.

“As we reopen, The Library is focusing on the safety of the public and our staff,’’ said Karen Cullings, the Library System's executive director. “We ask that all visitors wear masks, and all locations will have masks available for those who need them. We request everyone’s patience as The Library works to maintain a safe environment while delivering vital services.” 

Cullings said the reopening plan prioritized computer accessibility since, for many members, the library is their only resource for internet services.  

Free Wi-Fi, available outside at all locations since the lockdown began March 13, will remain accessible, Cullings said.

As conditions allow, additional library locations will partially reopen, according to Cullings.

 All programs will continue to be offered only online through the library’s website and Facebook page, Cullings said. 

To ensure everyone’s safety, computer use is limited to one hour per session and stations will be thoroughly sanitized after each use. 

Designated areas, with appropriate social distancing, have been set aside only for laptops provided by the library for onsite use.

During this limited reopening, members wanting to check out items may request the materials online – either through BookAdvisor or the online catalog – choosing their preferred open location for curbside pickup. 

Members without computer access may request materials by calling 717-652-9380.

Once they have been notified their materials are ready, members will have one week to retrieve their selections. All items will be placed in new, clean, recyclable paper bags. A designated parking area will be available, and members will call the number on the sign, have their information verified, and a staff member will bring the items to them while they remain in their cars.  

All borrowed materials need to be returned using the outdoor book drops. While Dauphin County is in the yellow phase, staff cannot accept returns at curbside or in buildings, and The Library is not accepting donated books and other items. 

To guard against the coronavirus, The Library will quarantine all returned materials for 72 hours. In addition to the computer stations between use, staff will clean all publicly accessible areas every two hours. Sneeze guards have been installed at all service points. 

Additionally, all staff members are receiving training covering cleaning and sanitizing procedures, and at the start of each shift will have their temperature taken and answer health screening questions. Staff will also use gloves when handling items used by the public and when delivering materials for curbside pickup. 

“From providing computers and internet access to educational materials for children unable to go to school, we know the vital role The Library plays in our community,’’ Cullings said. “We are committed to balancing the need to serve the public with our responsibility to keep our members and staff safe.’’ 

Source: Dauphin County Library System