The Princeton Public Library (PPL) announced earlier this week that it would be closed until at least Jan. 31, after a staff member tested positive for COVID-19.
All in-person services and contactless hold pickups, which have been available since the library’s reopening in August, will be suspended. In addition, all three drop-off sites around town for returned materials have closed and due dates have been extended two weeks.
“We expect to reopen during the week of Feb. 1 with the same services offered before this temporary closure,” PPL Executive Director Jennifer Podolsky said in an email to the ‘Prince’.
Podolsky also commented that the closure allows the Municipal Health Department to conduct contact tracing and for a local contracted cleaning service, which had been sanitizing the building twice daily, to perform a deep cleanse of the library before reopening.
The usage of virtual services has increased since the pandemic began, and those services will be available during the closure. The Virtual Information Desk will remain staffed, and patrons will still have access to the digital collection and databases.
Despite losing community engagement, Podolsky noted the evolving appreciation for the library’s virtual holdings throughout the pandemic.
“When we closed in March, many of our regulars who primarily read physical books made the shift to e-books and our other digital services with the help of staff on our virtual desk,” she explained. Now, “increasing numbers of [PPL] cardholders realized that the library is more than just a building.”
The social media community has responded with well-wishes for the closure. On Instagram, one person wrote, “sending prayers for speedy recovery,” with another adding, “Good luck to your staff person. I hope it’s a mild case.”
In a post by the library on the Princeton Patch, Podolsky expressed similar sentiments, saying, “Our thoughts are with our colleague and their loved ones at this uncertain time.”