North Riverside Public Library, 2400 Desplaines Ave., will expand its hours of operation beginning Sept. 8, but will continue to limit in-person browsing of materials to the lobby/circulation desk area, for now.

After Labor Day, unless the governor imposes new restrictions based on an increase in COVID-19 cases in the Chicago suburban region, the library will be open on Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Wednesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. 

In all, the library will be open 12 more hours per week with the new schedule.

Additionally, the library’s lobby will be open to in-person visitors and for those who have scheduled appointments to use computers during all hours of operation as opposed to the Monday-Wednesday-Friday schedule now in place.

The library has two computers available for public use, and patrons can reserve a 45-minute slot (starting on the hour) in advance by calling 708-447-0869. Patrons are limited to one computer appointment per day.

Curbside pickup will continue during all hours of the library’s operation.

However, unlike in Riverside and Brookfield, where patrons are allowed to browse the collections while maintaining physical distance and abiding by other protocols, visitors to the North Riverside Library can’t roam the stacks in search of titles.

Since late July, patrons have been able to browse new materials that staff have set out in the lobby. Face coverings are required for anyone visiting the library in person. Those who won’t or can’t wear a face covering can use the library’s curbside service to pick up materials.

“Visitors are still limited to the lobby/desk area, and we’re planning to keep that limit for our expanded hours after Labor Day,” said Lizzy Boden, adult services manager for the library. “As of right now, we don’t have concrete plans for a date at which we will allow browsing. We’ve found it to be a tricky balance between staff safety and patron access, and it’s definitely continuously evolving.”

Boden said the library has attempted to provide something of a browsing service via the creation of a Google form that allows patrons to provide librarians information on what they’re looking for. The librarians will respond with recommendations. That form can be accessed by visiting bit.ly/3hxY1zF.