Bucks County has been designated by Gov. Tom Wolf as being in the “yellow” phase beginning June 5. Bucks County Free Library branches and district member libraries are getting ready to open.
The branches are eager to restore services so they can help those who depend on them. BCFL will continue offering all the remote services that have been available since its locations closed on March 14. While BCFL has set out an approximate timeline for restoration of other services, please be aware that the timeline may change because the situation remains fluid.
As directed by the Pennsylvania Office of Commonwealth Libraries, BCFL has adopted phased-in reopening plans so it can serve the public safely. Libraries will be following all requirements set out by the Commonwealth in its business orders for operational and building safety as they reopen.
Because of the differing needs for preparation, not all libraries will be able to restore services on the same dates. This plan gives date ranges to account for unknowns, such as backorders for disinfectants or other safety supplies and equipment.
Check your library’s website or call to find out more detailed information. Contact information for all Bucks County libraries is at buckslib.org/locations. BCFL’s Library Service Restoration Plan can be seen at buckslib.org/COVID-19.
Three Phases of Reopening
– In the first phase, which begins June 8, staff will return to the buildings. For about two weeks, staff will handle backlogs of materials and reconfigure buildings to support social distancing.
– In the second phase, toward the end of June, most libraries will offer curbside pickup.
– In the third phase, about mid-July, BCFL will open buildings to the public.
Phase One Begins June 8: Library Users May Return Items
– Starting Monday, June 8, library users can return items to book drops. You may see that a library has set out boxes or other receptacles to handle the extra influx of materials.
– There are more than 165,000 items in people’s homes across the county. Because of the volume, BCFL is asking people to try to use a “birthday rule” in the next few weeks when bringing things back. If your birthday is on an even numbered date, try to return items on an even date. If it’s on an odd date, try to return materials on an odd date. This will help BCFL control the flow of materials so staff doesn’t have to shut down book drops that become overfilled and unusable.
– All returned items will be quarantined for 72 hours before they can be processed. It may take several days for your returned items to be cleared from your account. Please be assured BCFL will not charge late fees during this time.
– No libraries are accepting book donations. Do not bring any donated items to the library.
Phase Two Begins Between June 18-25: Curbside Pick-Ups & Online Summer Quest
– Most libraries in Bucks County will offer curbside services. Be aware that if something is on the shelf at your pick-up library, you will receive it more quickly than an item that needs to be shipped from another library.
– You will be able to request items for pickup by placing a hold in the BCFL catalog or calling the library.
– Staff will let you know by email or phone when your order is ready. You may then set up an appointment for pickup. When you come to pick up your materials, you must wear a mask and practice social distancing. Signs will direct you to the pickup point. Depending on the library, you will either text or phone and someone will bring the items to you. Your materials will already be checked out and you will be given a receipt.
– BCFL is not accepting returned materials at curbside because they must be quarantined. If you need to return materials, put them in the book drop or other receptacle.
– BCFL is not accepting payments at curbside. If you need to make a payment on your account, make an online payment at the time you place your curbside order.
– Summer Quest kicks off on Saturday, June 20 as an online program with reading challenges, limited-edition badges and live streaming performances. Visit buckslib.org/summerquest for details. BCFL will post information on summer programs on its website and social media.
Phase Three Begins Between July 6-13: Buildings Open
– Bucks County libraries are targeting early to mid-July as when they will open to the public. Collections will be available for browsing and checkouts. Computers and seating areas will be available.
– Staff will be wearing masks and practicing, as well as enforcing, social distancing. Signs near service desks and checkouts will be in place to indicate where to line up or wait for help.
– Library users will be required to wear masks and practice social distancing while in the library.
– Per Pennsylvania’s business orders, BCFL must limit the number of people in the library to no more than 50 percent capacity. When you enter the library, you’ll see that computers and furniture have been moved or removed to allow for social distancing.
– Depending on how busy the library is, you may need to wait to enter until others leave. – The busiest libraries will enforce per-person time limits for computer use and length of time inside the library.
– In all cases, libraries will be following all requirements set out by the Commonwealth in its business orders for operational and building safety.