Mt. Laurel Library reopens its doors to the community

At a capacity of 50 percent, it will still offer curbside pickup and virtual events.

The Mt. Laurel Library reopened its doors on March 22 at a capacity of 50 percent, a decision made after its board of trustees determined it was safe to do so.

The library closed its doors to the public in November in the midst of COVID. Customers were not allowed inside but could take advantage of virtual services and curbside pickup. 

“In February, we gradually started to reopen and take appointments,” said Library Director Becky Boydston.

With the library open again, members of the Mt. Laurel community will be asked to follow CDC guidelines regarding social distancing and masks. The library will enforce those standards by limiting computer time by one hour per day and reminding customers to be mindful of how long they stay in the building. 

Library staffers made changes to the facility’s layout to make sure visitors are 6 feet apart.  There will be fewer computer users working next to each other and seating at tables will be limited. There will be shields between computers where necessary and couches have been removed because they are harder to keep clean and disinfect, according to Boydston.

People will be able to browse as they please and the library will still offer curbside pickup for those who feel more comfortable checking out a book online. The building has designated spots for pickup; customers call or text upon arrival and a staff member places the books on an outside table.    

“Curbside we’ll keep doing for the foreseeable future because it’s convenient,” Boydston explained. “Let’s just say you have little kids in the car. You don’t have to get everyone out of the car seats. It’s just easier for a quick trip.”

As for events, the library moved the majority of its programs online during its closure, but more outdoor programs will be held as the weather gets nicer, albeit at manageable levels.    

“It’s (the library) a hub for the community and it always felt like a place for people to gather together and meet with your neighbors,” Boydston noted. “It’s not the same as it has been, but it’s important we offer some form of community to people.”