champaign library

Library Page Charlie Newman shelves items in the newly extended hold section at the Champaign Public Library on Monday, June 22, 2020.

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It’s going to be back to curbside pickup and virtual services only at the Champaign, Urbana and Danville public libraries starting Friday.

All three libraries announced Wednesday they will close their buildings to the public starting Friday, the same day new statewide COVID-19 mitigation measures are set to begin that will include strict capacity limits for retailers and restrictions on hotels, restaurants, bars and other facilities.

Urbana Free Library Executive Director Celeste Choate said that library would still like to be able to offer some computer access to the public, but details haven’t been worked out yet. Check the library’s website for updates, she said.

The new statewide restrictions don’t require libraries to close their buildings, Danville Public Library Executive Director Jennifer Hess said, but the action was advised for safety’s sake by a Vermilion County Health Department staff member who serves on the library board.

The Champaign Public Library will close both its buildings — the main library at 200 W. Green St. and the Douglass Branch at 504 E. Grove St. — with curbside pickup services available at both.

Director Donna Pittman also said this step is being taken due to public-health concerns.

“There are a number of libraries doing the same,” she said.

Among those concerns is the fact that some patrons are spending considerable time in the library when the governor has asked the public to limit trips to stores to quick, in-and-out errands for safety, Pittman said.

The Tolono Public Library will remain open, Director Janet Cler said, though “we’re just going to have to play it by ear.”

“We have safety procedures in place and we’re very comfortable with that,” she said.

Also remaining open to the public will be the Rantoul Public Library, according to Director Holly Thompson.

Some services will be scaled back, including in-person programming, Thompson said. And meeting rooms at the library that had reopened for use with reservations won’t be available, she said.

While Champaign library buildings will be closed, the library’s events schedule, including webinars and online workshops, will continue, and book returns will remain open, according to service updates the library posted Wednesday.

Along with that, Champaign library staff will answer questions via LiveChat, phone, or email.

In Danville, library patrons can continue to reserve items for curbside pickup between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. weekdays.

Danville library patrons are asked to stay in their vehicles, unlock their trunks and call the library upon arrival, and staff members will place the items they’ve requested in their trunks. Among items available for pickup there are craft kits for kids, teens and adults.

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