Updated May 30 at 4:20 p.m.
Restaurants and fast-food chains aren’t the only entities with drive-thrus during the COVID-19 pandemic. Broward County announced walk-up and drive-thru library services for anyone interested in checking out books, DVDs, and other materials.
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Patrons must have a Broward County Library card to reserve any items. Customers can reserve books online, or they can call the library and tell a staff member which materials they’d like to put on hold. Once their order is ready for pickup, the library will give them a call.
The customer must call the library once they’ve arrived. They can either have a library employee place their requested books into their trunk or hand it off to them in a plastic bag while wearing gloves.
Customers can also choose to have an employee place the customer’s items on a table outside the building for the customer to grab. All customers must wear a mask and try to maintain standard social distancing orders, according to a Broward County press release.
UPDATE: Broward County Libraries will expand walk-up and drive-thru services to all locations except for the Galt Ocean Mile Reading Center and the Nova Southeastern University Alvin Sherman Library.
It’s been over a week since the new procedures went into effect, and Nina Fernandez, the librarian supervisor at North Regional/Broward College Library, sees the county’s efforts as a success.
“We’ve had quite a few customers come,” Fernandez said. “People are definitely taking advantage of [these services]. And they’re very happy and appreciative of it, too.”
All Broward County Library locations accept book and video returns regardless of where the customer checked them out. There’s also no late fees.
Library employees place all returns in a designated bin to quarantine them for 72 hours, according to Fernandez. The staff won’t touch these items until the quarantine period is completed. Then they’ll wipe down the hardcover books before they go back on the shelf. Paperback books do not get wiped down.
Fernandez says if a customer asks for a book that’s sitting in quarantine, the staff can check the county’s library catalog to see if there’s an available copy elsewhere. They’ll notify the customer as soon as they receive the book from the other library.
Other counties across South Florida have also used similar methods to provide library resources to residents. Miami-Dade County began these procedures earlier this month. Palm Beach County offers pickup services, too, and they’re finalizing plans to reopen all libraries.
Monroe County announced libraries will open on June 1. These libraries will take social distancing precautions, and everyone must a wear a mask. Customers can check out and return items, and they can use the computers for up to one hour.