Cherry Hill Public Library prepares for reopening with guidelines

Safety and security measures in place for seamless operation.

After being closed since the coronavirus pandemic hit in mid-March, Cherry Hill Public Library has made plans to re-open to the public during the second full week of July — pushed back from its original date right after the Fourth of July weekend — with rules and regulations intended to keep staff, administrators and visitors safe and healthy.

Before the 4th of July weekend, the Cherry Hill Public Library sent out notice that its planned reopening would take place July 7. But following the holiday weekend, the library website issued an update, pushing back the reopening date to Monday, July 13, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“Per discussions with our board and Cherry Hill Township, any discussions or decisions on reopening were based upon the health and safety of our patrons and staff,” said library Director Laverne Mann of the change. “We wanted to make sure all protocols were in order, staffing in place, and safety measurements were planned.

“All of this was contingent upon executive orders from the governor (Phil Murphy),” he added. “In the last few weeks, our staff have been extremely busy with contact-less pickup, the returns of thousands of materials and quarantining items.”

As it welcomes the public inside once more, only a maximum of 25 percent of indoor capacity is allowed, per Murphy’s most recent edict, which will be no more than 50 people, per Mann.

Visitors who feel they may have symptoms of COVID-19 are advised to remain at home. For those who decide to venture out, there will be a 30-minute time limit for patrons to be in the building, and computer access will also be limited to 30 minutes per patron, per day.

In keeping with current guidelines, masks must be worn at all times by visitors and social distancing is required. The library expects to have a comprehensive system worked out to ensure proper space is provided. 

“Signage, markings on the floor, and staff will be strategically placed from the entrance and throughout the building,” offered Mann, referring to the visual cues expected to be in place.

In spite of the opening-date rollback, the library still plans to add two more dates of operation during the week of July 20. 

“We still plan to open on Wednesday, July 22, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. On Saturday, July 25, we will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.,” Mann revealed.  “Book drops at CHPL and at the Post Office on Marlkress Road continue to be open 24/7.”

Scofflaws beware: According to the library’s website, fines for certain items not returned before the shutdown began accruing on July 1, so the public is urged to make good as soon as possible. 

“Only materials from Adult Services incur fines,” Mann explained. “Fines for items from Children’s and Teens (departments) had been eliminated last year. Please note that Summer Reading books for all the Cherry Hill schools are available at the library, and those do incur fines.” 

For further updates on services available and operating times, visit the library’s website: https://www.chplnj.org/.