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Library announces hours for fall 2020

The Austin Public Library board voted to expand the hours for express browsing and computer use, effective Sept. 8.

Library Executive Director Julie Clinefelter said the process has been constant work to find balance.

“Though we are trying to avoid making frequent changes that might leave patrons confused about when we are and are not open for various services, both our staff and the Library Board were concerned about those who may not be able to get to the library on a weekday afternoon,” Clinefelter said. “It is a difficult balance to follow best practices regarding the pandemic and fulfill our commitment to serve the community —especially in such a fluid situation.  Libraries are an even more vital resource during social, economic and health crises. Our challenge was to identify the most critical needs first and make sure we were doing everything possible to meet them.”

The library has made a number of changes over the months since the start of the pandemic, requiring almost a complete overhaul of the procedures and routines relating to materials circulation.

“Where the library has functioned for many years as a primarily self-service facility, closing the building meant coming up with a whole new way of getting materials in the hands of patrons,” Clinefelter noted.  “It meant ramping up our telephone and online support for helping people find the items and information they needed, and then doing all the physical aspects of getting them their materials.  Every step transitioned to a task done by staff – from making selections to pulling the items off the shelf to checking out the items and taking the materials to their vehicles with our new curbside service.”

This has presented a number of challenges, since the building was not designed with curbside service in mind.  Clinefelter said the library staff have worked hard to find creative ways to deliver these services as efficiently and safely as possible, while also continuing their other areas of service for the community, such as providing programs, computer and internet access and general access to information.

“Very early on, I decided to look at the pandemic as an opportunity to really look at all of what the library is and what it does for our patrons,” she said. “We have learned a great deal from this situation, and I think if there are some silver linings, one of them will be an Austin Public Library that is even better situated to meet the needs of our community.”

Fall Hours and Services

Telephone Assistance:

•10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday

•10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Thursday.

• 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday

Open for Express Browsing and 1 hourr Adult Computer use:

• 1-4 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday

• 1-7 p.m. Thursday

• Noon-2p.m. Saturday

Curbside: 

• 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday

• 10 a.m. to noon Saturday

For current information and additional resources, visit: austinpubliclibrary.org