Readers Rejoice: Wake Libraries Announce Reopening Plans

If the pandemic has left you longing for the comfort of the library, you’re in luck. Wake County Public Libraries has launched a phased reopening plan that will allow readers to once again browse the shelves in person.

“We’ve strived to serve our community during the COVID-19 crisis with options for library service that reflect our patrons’ comfort levels,” said Ann Burlingame, deputy director of Wake County Public Libraries. “Our virtual experience offers programs and services from home, and our no-contact service, Books on the Go, gives customers the option to reserve books online and pick them up. Now, we’re thrilled to move to the next step in our reopening plan and welcome people back into the library—the Express Library Experience.”

WCPL will focus on its eight regional libraries first. East, Eva Perry, Northeast and Southeast regional libraries are already open. Cameron Village and West will open Monday, Nov. 16, and Cary and North are next in line on Monday, Nov. 23.

When you walk through the doors for the first time, you’ll notice some changes.

With the Express Library Experience, you’ll feel like you’re in a bookstore. Books will be easily available on tables and in special displays, making it easy to grab and go. You’ll be asked to limit your visit to 30 minutes or less. This will let people maintain social distance while keeping the library accessible to everyone.

Lounge furniture, tables and chairs have been removed, and meeting rooms, quiet study rooms, newspapers and magazines will not be offered. Computers will be available at some libraries, but use will be limited to 30 minutes.

All libraries will operate with the safety of patrons and staff as their No. 1 priority.

  • Visitors will have their temperature taken and be asked a series of questions before they may enter.
  • Librarians will staff greeter stations to answer questions and provide directions.
  • Everyone 5 and older will be required to wear a mask.
  • Library staff will wear masks and undergo health screenings each day.
  • Social distancing will be enforced.
  • Capacity will be limited.
  • Environmental controls, such as plexiglass shields, stanchions, floor decals, new air filters and signage, will be in place.
  • Staff will clean high-touch areas regularly, and hand sanitizer will be available for all customers.
  • Library books will be quarantined for 72 hours upon return, and book donations will remain suspended.

The Express Library Experience offers a new feature—”On the Go Programs.” This includes:

  • Play Your Way to K: An interactive board game with literacy tips for young children to support kindergarten readiness.
  • Book Bundles: A grab bag of assorted books for young children selected by librarians.
  • Storytime on the Go: A storytime with books, songs and rhymes planned by librarians and based on the Every Child Ready to Read curriculum.
  • Adventures to Go: Take-and-make craft activity sheets with book recommendations for school-aged children.
  • Express Book Bags: Curated bag of books created by librarians based on the interests of library customers.

Once all the regional libraries have opened, staff will complete a formal evaluation of the Express Library Experience and how it is meeting the needs of the community. The next phase of reopening will focus on the larger community libraries.

Up-to-date information can be found here.

Virtual Offerings
The virtual offerings that residents have come to know and love during the pandemic are still available. From Storytime Anytime to e-books and audiobooks, our county libraries are always just a click away.

Press Release