Vernon Area Public Library restarting return and checkout services
Lincolnshire's Vernon Area Public Library has begun accepting books, DVDs and other materials that were checked out before the COVID-19 crisis forced its closure.
And here's more good news for library lovers: Curbside checkouts are set to start later this month.
The library, at 300 Olde Half Day Road, started taking back items Monday. Roughly 35,000 items were checked out when the building closed in mid-March, officials said.
Materials should be deposited in the bins in the library's parking lot. Only books, audiobooks, DVDs, CDs and magazines should be returned now. Other items, such as telescopes or science kits, should remain at home.
Due dates on all borrowed items have been extended until at least July 1 so employees can manage the flow of items more easily. The library doesn't charge late fees.
Returned materials are being quarantined in dated bins for seven days in the library's meeting room to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. On the final day, items will be exposed to ultraviolet light as an added safety measure, spokeswoman Catherine Savage said.
Based on the number of full bins in the meeting room, Savage estimated 5,000 items had been returned as of Thursday.
As for checkouts, curbside service will begin June 23 for Vernon Area cardholders. Patrons will be able to place holds via the library's website, vapld.info, or by calling (224) 543-1485 or (224) 543-1486.
Employees will find requested items, place them in labeled paper bags and then contact patrons when the items are ready to be picked up.
At pickup time, a patron will be asked to display the last name and phone number on his or her car's dashboard.
When a car arrives at the library's front entrance, an employee will request the appropriate bag be brought out. The bag will be placed in the customer's trunk or on a rear seat.
Patrons who placed holds before the building closed will be contacted first. People who no longer want requested items should cancel or suspend the requests via the website.
At first, curbside pickup will be available from 9 a.m. to noon and then again from 1 to 4 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays.
In a message on the website, Director Cindy Fuerst predicted in-person services will expand over time and that the building gradually will reopen to the public.
"We look forward to resuming normal operations, but we must act cautiously and responsibly, prioritizing the health of our entire community," Fuerst said. "If at any time we feel the safety of library employees or patrons is in jeopardy, we will adjust or pause service as needed."
For more information and updates, visit vapld.info/service-updates.html.