April 30, 2020

Columbus Metropolitan Library extends closure, plans phased reopening

Library leaders eye May for limited reopening

COLUMBUS—Columbus Metropolitan Library (CML) is extending the closure of all 23 of its library locations while plans are in the works to initiate a phased reopening of some physical services.

Library leaders are finalizing a plan to open a few locations in May with limited services. Specific timing is subject to the availability of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) for staff and guidelines for customers. CML will provide advance notice and specifics of locations and services as soon as possible. Until then, the closure of all 23 library locations will continue.

CML will continue to follow guidelines provided by local, county and state health officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Another factor that will help guide decision-making around a possible reopening is CML’s recent partnership with Battelle, whose researchers are analyzing the COVID-19 coronavirus’s lifespan on different types of library materials.

While CML locations will be closed for this extended period of time, digital library resources are available at columbuslibrary.org, including eBooks, eAudiobooks, magazines, movies and music, plus research and learning tools.

During this time of closure, CML has provided new channels for customers to connect with staff, including:

  • Phone Lines: CML has reopened its phone lines at 614-645-2275 so customers can reach staff members to get the help they need Monday through Friday from 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
  • Homework Help Chat: CML’s new live chat feature lets K-12 students and educators connect with staff for help with at-home learning Monday through Friday from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
  • Reserve an Expert: Customers can now schedule a one-on-one, virtual appointment with a librarian to get help with genealogy, local history, business information, searching for a job or downloading digital content.

The safety of customers and staff is a priority for the library. Follow CML on social media (Facebook, Twitter) and check columbuslibrary.org for updates. Additional changes in operation will be shared as this rapidly evolving public health situation continues to unfold.

CML is grateful to its customers, friends, colleagues and supporters who have expressed their concern and understanding during this uncertain time.

Columbus Metropolitan Library has served the people of Franklin County, Ohio since 1873. With its Main Library and 22 branches, CML is well known for signature services and programs like Homework Help, Reading Buddies, Summer Reading Challenge and Ready for Kindergarten. The library’s Strategic Plan supports the vision of “a thriving community where wisdom prevails,” which positions CML to respond to areas of urgent need: kids unprepared for kindergarten, third grade reading proficiency, high school graduation, college and career readiness and employment resources.

CML was named a 2011 National Medal Winner by the Institute for Museum and Library Services for work in community service, the highest honor for libraries and museums. CML was also named 2010 Library of the Year by Library Journal.

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