On Monday, April 26, Maricopa County Library District (MCLD) moved into its next phase of reopening by bringing back full browsing access at all 18 of its library branches. In this next phase, customers can now stop by the library during Pop-In Pickup hours to browse every shelf and all sections to find their next checkout.
Since initially closing its libraries in March 2020, MCLD began operating in a phased reopening plan. In early phases, the library system launched new contactless and virtual services to safely meet community needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. In October 2020, MCLD began to bring back more traditional library services with the launch of Pop-In Pickup, a more limited and curated browsing experience. Beginning April 26, Pop-In Pickup will no longer limit customers to just the curated shelves while inside the library. This new phase will open up full browsing access to the collection, a step closer to the traditional library experience.
“There is something special about being able to come into your library with no expectations of what you will find and eventually walking out with your next favorite book, movie or album,” said MCLD Director and County Librarian Jeremy Reeder. “We are excited to safely bring that experience back to our community.”
There are still COVID-19 mitigation measures in place to ensure the library remains a safe space for the community. In order to keep indoor gatherings safe and promote social distancing, in-person events, computers, sitting areas, and study rooms will not yet be available. Curbside pickup and a variety of virtual services will also remain available to community members still looking for contactless library services.
The library’s role in providing technology and internet access is vital. While in-library computers remain unavailable, customers can check out a Chromebook or wi-fi hotspot to use at home. Library cardholders can put in a request for the devices online at mcldaz.org, by calling 602-652-3000, or by visiting their nearest MCLD library. There are more than 250 of each device circulating throughout the county library system, and each device can be checked out for up to three weeks with the option to renew. More details can be found at mcldaz.org/about/connect.
On Monday, April 26, mobile printing options will also become available at all MCLD Libraries. Customers can upload their files to an online printing portal and then stop into the library to print their queued documents using a kiosk. Printing costs 25 cents per black and white page and 75 cents per color page. More details can be found at mcldaz.org/about/printing.
MCLD works with the Maricopa County Department of Public Health to determine whether its COVID-19 mitigation strategies are currently in line with CDC recommendations and make sense for the Maricopa County community. MCLD will continue working with the Health Department to determine when it is safe to increase additional library services and move into another phase of reopening.