State guidelines for retail curbside pick-up were modified last week to allow libraries to provide curbside pick-up of materials, and libraries across the county have begun to reopen these limited services. The largest library system in the county, the Ventura County Library, operates twelve libraries and is actively preparing to safely implement curbside services over the next two weeks at most branches.
Public libraries across Ventura County have been closed since mid-March when the State Public Health Officer and Director of the California Department of Public Health issued an order requiring most Californians to stay at home to disrupt the spread of COVID-19 among the population. The state announced these efforts have allowed them to move forward on their roadmap for modifying the statewide order, including allowing public libraries to reopen for curbside pick-up of materials. Public libraries had previously not been allowed to operate under the orders.
Ventura County Library Director Nancy Schram says, “Safely reestablishing access to physical library materials is a significant step toward restoring in-person library services.”
Schram says library employees have been performing exceptional work and providing services and programs in the virtual environment during the closure. However, feedback received from the community during the closure of the physical library branches has emphasized the critical role libraries play in providing access to print materials and Internet access in particular. The library is currently working with the Ventura County Library Foundation to raise funds to purchase Wi-Fi hotspots and Chromebooks to loan out to community members as part of their lending library.
Check the library’s website at www.vencolibrary.org for the latest information and services that are available.