Brookfield Public Library, 3609 Grand Blvd., moved to the next phase of its reopening plan on Monday, Aug. 17 when it rolled out its “grab-and-go” service, which allows short visits inside the library to browse the collection and check out books and other materials.

And you don’t even have to make an appointment. You can just drop in.

“People have really missed the ability to browse the shelves,” said Brookfield Library Director Kimberly Coughran. “If there’s anything we’ve learned during the pandemic it’s that browsing electronically is not the same as perusing the shelves.”

The library has also slightly expanded its hours of operation. The building will be open Monday-Thursday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on Friday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The first hour of each day (from 10 to 11 a.m.) is reserved for senior citizens and others for whom COVID-19 exposure presents a higher risk. Anyone visiting the library must wear a face covering while inside.

While patrons are welcome to visit the library and maintain physical distance from one another while inside the building, the object is not to encourage people from lingering long inside.

The grab-and-go service is meant to be just that. Chairs have been removed from the library to prevent people from grabbing a book from the stacks and then giving it a tryout before deciding whether or not to check it out.

In addition to being able to browse the collection, patrons can ask librarians reference questions and take advantage of other services offered by the library, like using the copier, printer or computers.

Coughran said that if patrons want to come to the library specifically to use the copier, printer or computers, making an appointment is preferable to dropping in to ensure the service is available when you need it and to give staff time to disinfect equipment and furniture between uses.

“But when someone is here browsing the collection and needs to use a service, we will accommodate them as best we can,” Coughran said.

Only 50 people maximum will be allowed inside the library at one time, said Coughran, though she said she doesn’t expect attendance to approach that figure at any one time. Visitors will be greeted at the door by a library staff member.

Brookfield Public Library reopened to the public on a more limited basis first back in June with curbside pickup of materials. In early July, the library began offering the use of its computers and other services on an appointment-only basis.

The library will continue to take appointments for services and will continue curbside pickup during normal hours. To schedule appointments call the information desk at 708-485-6917, ext. 130 or email reference@brookfieldlibrary.info.

Public meetings, classes and other programs will continue to be conducted virtually via Zoom or Facebook Live.

But, as of Aug. 17 community organizations are afforded the opportunity to reserve virtual “meeting space” through the library’s Zoom account. Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, condo associations, local clubs and the like can, through a library cardholder, book up to two hours of free meeting time on the library’s Zoom account, as long as the meetings begin during the library’s normal hours of operation.

Call the information desk to reserve time. More information is at the library’s website at brookfieldlibrary.info. 

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