ROCHESTER, Minn. – The increase in COVID-19 cases in Olmsted County is moving the Rochester Public Library to press “pause” on its reopening plans.
It was announced in early October that the library would start a by-appointment option called “Library Express” for browsing and borrowing materials and other limited activities. Library Director Audrey Betcher says that will not be happening now.
“We continue to watch the dial and listen to public health officials about COVID-19 activity locally,” says Betcher. “And we are also mindful of our staff capacity as we operate our other ongoing services.”
The library’s Curbside Pickup service has been relocated into the Civic Center Ramp to allow it to continue during winter and library staff continue to man Rochester’s COVID-19 Information Hotline.
“We expect more demand on both the Call Center and our Curbside services if COVID-19 cases keep rising,” says Betcher. “Once our cases start to decline, and we’re back in the moderate to minimal risk levels, we will be ready to offer Library Express.”
Karen Lemke, a spokesperson for the Rochester Public Library, says they miss their regulars, but safety comes first.
Safety is a top priority,"said Lemke. " We are working hard to keep staff and patrons safe. For example, when materials come back we quarantine those items for 72 hours.