April was a busy month for the Library. In mid-April we re-opened our newly renovated and expanded Price Hill Branch. More than one returning customer grew teary-eyed at the site of the new facility, and one person brought along a photo of herself as a child standing on the front lawn of the original Carnegie building in 1940. It was amazing to feel the appreciation the community has for the Library in Price Hill and to show off how community input is deeply engrained in the final design of the renovated branch.
And speaking of the newly renovated and expanded Price Hill Branch, the hard work to improve that location allowed us to host a successful vaccination clinic in partnership with the Cincinnati Health Department that featured a visit from Governor Mike DeWine. During the May 7 clinic, the governor toured the new branch, greeted library customers and vaccination site attendees, and thanked health care workers. He also hosted a press conference that included Hamilton County Commissioner Alicia Reese and Cincinnati Health Commissioner Dr. Melba Moore. It was quite an honor to have the opportunity to highlight the Library branch and the entire Price Hill community.
As the vaccine becomes more widely available, and we are able to return to activities that have been on pause or curtailed due to the pandemic, the Library continues to restore services in a phased approach. Last month, we re-opened meeting and study rooms and re-started our outdoor events at many of our locations. Here is a quick snapshot of how we're bringing more robust services back to our 41 locations in the next few months:
- Customer time limits at locations are removed.
- Capacity limits at locations begin to increase to 50-75 percent.
- Quarantining materials returned by customers ends May 17.
- Some pandemic protocols scaled back (for example, turning water fountains back on).
- In-person service returns to our Elmwood Place and Greenhills branches.
- Our largest branches start offering evening hours again.
- Indoor events and programs begin to take place, but adhere to state and local protocols.
- Our mid-sized branches start offering evening hours again, as does the Downtown Main Library.
- We begin piloting Sunday hours for our drive-thrus.
- Friends donations are accepted again at our largest branches.
- Branches begin to restore volunteering opportunities.
- In-person Sunday hours return to branches that previously offered them.
- Friends donations will be accepted again at mid-sized branches.
As a reminder, we are open for in-person service from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and also offer curbside service at all our locations and drive-thru service at select locations. In addition, we are following the recommendations of health officials and require masks for in-person service. We are truly grateful for the community’s support this past year as we’ve had to adjust how we operate because of the pandemic, and we’re so excited to be bringing more robust services back to you. We welcome minds of all kinds, and we look forward to seeing you at one of our locations very soon.