Jo Ann Rebane: What’s up with the library? |

Jo Ann Rebane: What’s up with the library?

On May 22 we learned that thrift stores had opened, that book stores remained on curbside service only, and that the public library started a curbside pickup program complete with numerous strictures and guidelines.

That same day I submitted a letter to the editor noting that uneven, arbitrary and unreasonable rules continued to guide the opening of county enterprises.

My letter regarding books and libraries was published over a month later on June 23. Since then several readers of The Union have weighed in.

First, know that I am the daughter of a nationally prominent librarian who taught me the important role the public library serves in the civic, educational, and business life of a vibrant and free society.

Had my letter of May 22 seen print in a timely manner, any book lover who found my points compelling might have been moved to lobby the county to do something differently. Additionally, the county or library might have found it useful to respond immediately to explain why the book drops had been closed off for two entire months; to explain why the opportunity to run the books through a timely quarantine period had been given up; to explain why they felt it wise not to receive books during the two month period and return books to the shelves once quarantined and safe; to explain how they plan to handle the sudden influx of books returned which now needed quarantine and were unavailable for circulation; and to assure taxpayers that books which have been in patrons’ hands for months will be returned and not be lost.

Answers to these questions would indeed have been interesting to library patrons and taxpayers.

Today, Aug. 1, the library continues to provide curbside and front door pickup which requires placing a call or online order, a wait until the book is available followed by a scheduled appointment to pick up the desired book.

In contrast, Grass Valley’s Book Seller has been open to customers since mid-June. They limit the number of persons in the store and require everyone use hand sanitizer as well as comply with other COVID-19 precautions.

If our local merchants have figured out how to serve the public in person and safely, why can’t our public libraries?

Jo Ann Rebane lives in Nevada City.

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