Editor’s note: This story was updated Tuesday, Nov. 17, with information from the Wilmette Public Library.
The Wilmette and Glencoe publics libraries are both closed to the public indefinitely, according to independent statements released Saturday, Nov. 14.
Both libraries are citing the continued surge of COVID-19 cases locally and regionally, and Wilmette’s library reported that a staff member tested positive for COVID-19.
“Given the evident rise and rapid spread of COVID-19, and following the advice of the Illinois Department of Public Health, Cook County Department of Public Health, local officials, peer advisory, and data/metrics from a variety of sources, Wilmette Public Library’s building is closed to the public in an effort to limit opportunities for further spread of the virus in our community,” Wilmette Library Director Anthony Auston told The Record in a separate emailed statement.
Auston said the library learned of the positive test on Nov. 14, adding the employee who tested positive was last in the library on Tuesday, Nov. 10.
“The employee had been working primarily with staff; those who had prolonged contact (more 15 total minutes) were notified immediately and placed on 14-day quarantine,” Auston said. “This is the Library’s first positive test result inside the building. The Library had one prior positive test for an employee who was exclusively working remotely.”
Auston added that the library was cleaned Saturday, Nov. 13, and further disinfected on Sunday, Nov. 15.
“Staff are working in teams to maintain services through Parking Lot Pickup and virtual means, following the same hours of operation as our current service model,” he said.
Although the Wilmette library building is closed, the library will continue to offer ways for locals to utilize its collections and services. Those offerings, according to the statement, are:
• The library’s physical collection will still be available for check out via parking lot pickup. Appointments are required for parking lot pickup. More information can be found here: https://wilmettelibrary.info/…/parking-lot-pickup-faq;
• Staff will be available at the library by phone and chat during business hours, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday and 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday. Staff will be able to provide research help, tech troubleshooting, book recommendations and more;
• Virtual programs will still be happening as scheduled;
• Ebooks, downloadable audiobooks, and streaming media are available with your Wilmette library card 24/7;
• Offsite book drops will be open beginning Monday, Nov. 23. In addition to the book returns in the library parking lot, which are currently open 24 hours a day, patrons will be able to return items in the book drops at the Community Recreation Center, Plaza Del Lago and the Linden CTA Station.
Auston said that the community’s demand for library materials throughout this year has remained high. The library’s circulation is down eight percent from 2019, he said.
“Wilmette Public Library services a highly engaged community who greatly values their library’s collections and services,” he said.
It’s unclear how long the library building will remain closed to the public, but Auston said he expects it will be at least three weeks.
The Glencoe library will still be offering curbside pickup, interlibrary loans, phone and chat service, and virtual programs. For more information on the Glencoe library, visit http://ow.ly/vzg750CkJOE.
The Winnketa-Northfield Public Library District announced Nov. 17 that its buildings are now closed to the public also.
Martin Carlino is a co-founder and the senior editor who assigns and edits The Record stories, while also bylining articles every week. Martin is an experienced and award-winning education reporter who was the editor of The Northbrook Tower.