SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – The South Plainfield Public Library re-opened its doors to patrons last month and is currently offering both in-person as well as curbside options with all programs continuing via Zoom for the foreseeable future.

"We understand that some of our residents may not feel comfortable coming into the building but, at the same time, they are eager to borrow materials. So even though we are open for limited in-person services we plan to continue contact-less pick up for as long as there is demand," said Director Linda Hansen, adding that those who wish to use public computers or peruse the shelves can do so with peace of mind that safety protocols are being taken. 

“In addition to following 'best practices' put forth by library organizations based on recommendations from the medical community, we also worked with our local health officer to establish procedures to help minimize the risk to both patrons and staff,” she said. 

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Currently, a maximum of 25 people are allowed in the building at all times (staff included) and proper social distancing measures are in effect. The library’s entrance will remain locked; when patrons arrive, they should ring the doorbell and those with an appointment will be allowed in while those who do not have an appointment will be granted access only if the building is below capacity. Note: everyone entering must wear a face mask at all times while in the building, visits should be limited to 45 minutes, and all patrons are expected to adhere to current 6-foot social distancing guidelines as well as follow all directional signs indicating traffic flow/spacing.

During their visit, patrons may browse collections and checkout materials, however, only one person will be allowed in an aisle at a time. Public use of table and chairs, the quiet study rooms, or the meeting room is prohibited at this time. Computer use will be limited to one-hour per visit and each computer will be assigned with staff remotely logging users on; no personal instruction will be available. The library will also provide disinfecting wipes and disposable gloves, which must be worn by patrons at all times while using computers and/or the public copier. Additionally, plexiglass has been installed at the public service desks as well as in between the public computers. 

“Our public computers are one of the biggest reasons people visit the library, so we felt that it was a priority for us to make sure that they were accessible when we re-opened,” said Hansen. “Most of the computer use we've seen in the past couple of weeks seems to be essential - people are turning to us print out documents, fill out applications, and take care of other important business they wouldn’t otherwise be able to do because of all the shutdowns...”

At this time, said Hansen, patrons should also continue to return materials to the outdoor drop boxes; library staff will not accept any returns inside the building. "Returned materials will remain in quarantine for a minimum of 72 hours, so please be aware that returned items will not come off of your account immediately," she said, assuring patrons that fines will be waived through the end of the month and those seeking to pay for services now must do so with a credit card. "Our staff is not accepting cash payments at this time. Anyone looking to pay fines, faxing or copy fees, or for notary services, etc. will need to do so with a credit card at the self-checkout machines." 

Those looking to do curbside pickup should visit the library's website (http://www.southplainfield.lib.nj.us/curbside.htm) for information on how to submit a request. Patrons looking to ensure access to the South Plainfield Public Library or reserve a computer are encouraged to make an appointment by calling (908) 754-7885, ext. 3. 

Appointments will be made on the hour and half hour; the first appointment will start at 10:30 a.m. Monday-Friday and at 9:30 a.m. on Saturdays with the last appointment at 5 p.m. weekdays and 4 p.m. on Saturdays. Note: at this time, no one under the age of 18 will be allowed in the building without a parent or guardian. 

“We want residents to feel safe coming here and for those who don’t curbside pickup is still an option. Browse our online catalog and put in a request and we will bring the items out to our porch for patrons to pick up,” said Hansen, adding, “For those who wish to come back into the building we are here and happy to welcome you back in a safe manner."

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