Proviso Township Libraries Adjust Amid Pandemic’s Second Wave

Saturday, December 12, 2020 || By Igor Studenkov || @maywoodnews 

Amid the most recent uptick of COVID-19 cases that began in late October, libraries throughout Proviso Township have adjusted their operations in order to serve their patrons.

Bellwood, Hillside and Northlake libraries switched entirely to curbside pick-up. Broadview Public Library continues to operate the same way it has since last summer, only allowing patrons to come in to browse and use computers by appointment.

Berkeley, Melrose Park and Westchester libraries have allowed patrons to check out materials and use in-library computers and printers while still offering curbside pick-up, though specific arrangements vary by library.

Most Proviso Township libraries have pivoted toward online resources, e-books and downloads, with events and programming also taking place online.

And all libraries that allow patrons to visit the buildings require them to wear masks and social-distance.

The Bellwood Public Library, 600 Bohland Ave., is closed to patrons until Dec. 31. Patrons can still check out materials using curbside pick-up. The pick-ups must be arranged during the library’s regular hours.

The Berkeley Public Library, 1637 Taft Ave., has remained open, with services such as in-library computers and printers still available. It even extended evening hours in November. As of Dec. 11, it is open at 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Monday to Thursday; 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Fridays; and 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Saturdays.

Unlike  other Proviso Township libraries, the Berkeley library still hosts some in-person programs, most of which are geared toward kids, teens and seniors. Those programs have capacity limits and everyone is required to social distance and wear face coverings. The library also offers curbside pick-up and home delivery of materials for patrons.

The Broadview Public Library, 2226 16th Ave., was limited to online services and curbside pick-up until July 27, when it started allowing patrons to come in by appointment to browse, check out books or use library computers. The recent uptick in cases hasn’t changed that.

Patrons who schedule an appointment must wear masks or face coverings while inside the library. To reduce the spread of COVID-19, patrons are encouraged to use sanitation stations throughout the building. Curbside pick-up is still available for patrons who don’t want to enter the library.

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Staffers inside of the Broadview Public Library earlier this year. The library, along with other libraries in Proviso Township, has adjusted to the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic. | File 

The Hillside Public Library, 405 Hillside Ave., went curbside-only, effective Nov. 23 and until further notice. As with other libraries, curbside pick-up is available during regular hours. Patrons can also request to have their documents printed by emailing staff.

The Melrose Park Public Library, 801 N. Broadway Ave.,  is currently offering “express services.” Patrons can check out and return materials. They can make photocopies, and print and scan documents, but they have to do it without staff help. Patrons must make an appointment in order to use library computers. In addition to requiring all patrons to wear face coverings and social distance inside the building, the library requires patrons to get their temperatures taken before they enter and anyone with the temperature of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher is turned away.

The Melrose Park library is currently open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays; 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays; and 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Saturdays. The library is closed on Sundays and every last Saturday of the month.

The Maywood Public Library, 121 S. 5th Ave.,  is currently closed, not because of COVID-19, but because of recent flooding. According to its December 2020 newsletter, due dates have been extended until further notice, so while patrons can return items any time, they are not required to until the library reopens. The newsletter also urges patrons to take advantage of the reciprocal card arrangement with area libraries that are still open.

The Northlake Public Library, 231 N. Wolf Rd. which serves Stone Park, is currently closed to the public and offering curbside pick-ups for library materials and print jobs. Library staff can answer questions via online chat rooms in addition to the phone and email options the other libraries offer.

The Westchester Public Library, 10700 Canterbury St., is open for browsing and checking out materials, and computer use is appointment only.

For the most up to date information about Proviso Township libraries, check their respective websites and Facebook pages.

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