‘Ready to invite people back in’: Nevada County Community Library branches reopen today | TheUnion.com

‘Ready to invite people back in’: Nevada County Community Library branches reopen today

Grass Valley’s Hlynn Metz on Tuesday peruses books available for checkout at the Madelyn Helling Library in Nevada City during the library’s soft opening. The county’s library system plans to have its official opening today.
Photo: Elias Funez

The Nevada County Community Library will reopen its branches today.

The library system closed March 2020, although it began offering curbside and front door pick-up services at several branches last May.

“It’s been just under 13 months, and it’s been a long 13 months of staff being as flexible as we can, and trying to help the community as much as we can, so we’re ready,” said Rachel Tucker, branch manager of the Madelyn Helling Library, on reopening. “We want to see you guys again.”

According to a press release, the Grass Valley, Madelyn Helling, and Truckee branches will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and the Penn Valley branch will be open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., with all opening Monday to Friday.

The Bear River Library will be open from 1 to 5 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. The Doris Foley Library for Historical Research will be open from 1 to 3 p.m. Thursday and Friday, and Saturday by appointment.

“We are ready to invite people back in,” county Librarian Nick Wilczek said Tuesday, as the county’s library branches underwent a “soft opening” in preparation for the announced reopening.

The children’s book area is decorated and ready to welcome back young readers to the Madelyn Helling Library in Nevada City.
Photo: Elias Funez

“Since we initially closed, we’ve been trying to re-think how to have people safely back in the building, so that’s been an ongoing thing,” said Tucker.

The COVID-19 precautions planned for the library reopening include a requirement that all patrons and staff wear face coverings during their visit, the use of hand sanitizer or gloves at the door, a 30-minute time limit for visits, and regular disinfecting of high-touch surfaces.

“We’ve got this plan to reopen (today) and we’re moving forward with it … but we are always keeping an eye on COVID numbers in the county, and our biggest responsibility is to keep everybody safe,” said Wilczek.

Library assistants Michele Willis and Sydney Joyce are ready to welcome people back inside the Madelyn Helling Library.
Many different categories of books are easily defined with yellow tabs placed on the book racks of the Madelyn Helling Library in Nevada City, which opened its doors to the public for the first time in over a year this week.
Photo: Elias Funez

Wilczek said one of the immediate differences library patrons may notice as the branches reopen is that “it won’t be full service yet,” as the library emphasizes browsing and picking up items.

Classes and other programming will remain online for the time being, said Wilczek.

“It’ll be a minute before we start bringing in-person programming back, and the next step will probably be outdoor in-person programming, and kind of moving from there,” he said.

According to Wilczek, by the end of the fiscal year, the county library will have served around 40,000 people through its curbside service, and put on over 1,500 programs.

“The library may look different, but our staff is all here to serve you just the same,” said Tucker.

Victoria Penate is a staff writer for The Union. She can be reached at vpenate@theunion.com.

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