Manalapan and Eastern Branch libraries reopening on July 15

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With branches in the Monmouth County Library System taking slow steps to ensure continued health and safety measures for employees and library users, visitors can expect to see a number of changes and  temporary measures to ensure compliance with Gov. Phil Murphy’s executive orders.

Plexiglass counter shields, and staff members wearing masks or face shields, and gloves if they are handling materials are in place, according to a press release.

Patrons are asked to wear masks and floor decals identify the recommended social distance. Work stations are cleaned after each staff change and all books and other items are quarantined for three days before going back into circulation, according to the press release.

Sanitizers are available around the library and the restrooms are cleaned frequently.

“While I am delighted our libraries are going to be able to open at least to accommodate a small percentage of users at a time, I continue to be amazed at just how much this staff has done and how much it has accomplished during the shutdown,” said Freeholder Lillian G. Burry, the Board of Freeholders’ liaison to the Monmouth County Library Commission.

“I feel abundantly certain every measure has been taken to ensure the highest health standards as well as complete compliance with every mandate of the Governor and I hope it will not be too much longer before all of our branches will be able to open and accommodate more customers,” Burry said.

Burry, joined by Library Commission Chairman Frank Wells, expressed thanks to the ingenuity and efforts of Library Director Judith Tolchin and the staff for providing so much versatility, entertainment and education for everyone who accesses the county’s library page, especially during the time the libraries were required to remain closed during the coronavirus pandemic, according to the press release.

With the openings of the Headquarters Library in Manalapan and the Eastern Branch in Shrewsbury, visitors will see protective measures taken to ensure safety.

Tolchin said with the planned opening of the Manalapan and Shrewsbury branches on July 15, consistent with Murphy’s Executive Order which limits the number of patrons indoors to 25% of capacity, most other branches will reopen in the near future.

Patrons will be allowed into the building for short browsing during this first phase. They will be able to pick up requested materials and use a computer with limitations and by appointment, according to the press release.

Door-side service will continue during this time for patrons who prefer to take advantage of that service.

Tolchin said in-person programs (music, entertainment, drama, speakers, history and art) will begin again during this first reopening phase consistent with the executive orders.

Library staff will continue to be available to match patrons with the books they want or help them find the information they need, according to the press release.

“We have had such an increase in customers using all the virtual programs, books and other conveniences the library has created and accomplished so well,” Burry said. “I can see that when things are back closer to normal, we will even have an influx of new customers who perhaps did not know us well before, but were enamored with everything our library staff has been able to provide throughout this very unique time.”

For a complete listing of library open hours and hours for all curbside services, as well as programs available online, visit www.monmouthcountylib.org