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Clark County libraries fully restore most services

Updated June 24, 2020 - 4:22 pm

The Las Vegas-Clark County Library District fully reopened most services on Wednesday and will now allow browsing with social distancing guidelines in place.

Library-goers may again browse the bookshelves, use study rooms and have access to limited seating at all library branches, according to a library district statement. Other services including library computers, Wi-Fi, art exhibitions, Safe Place services for at-risk youth and adult education courses have reopened as well. One-Stop Career Center coaches are also available for virtual assistance in job-seeking.

Children and families can join the annual Summer Challenge program, through which kids and teens can earn points to win prizes.

“With children out of school and many adults needing access to computers to apply for services and look for jobs, the need for our services is greater than ever,” Fred James, acting executive director of the library district, said in the statement. “At the same time, we are concerned about everyone’s health and safety, so all library district buildings have undergone a deep cleaning and an antimicrobial treatment of all surfaces including desks, keyboards and toys.”

The libraries closed their doors to the public March 16, but just over a week later began offering a digital eCard to those without library cards that granted access to the library’s online resources through June 30, according to the district’s Facebook page.

As of Wednesday, however, the eCards have been launched as real library cards that will not expire on June 30 and can be used to access the library’s online and physical resources, library district branding and marketing director Betsy Ward said in a statement.

Curbside book pickup began May 16, allowing customers to schedule a time to retrieve library resources in person. Twenty-four of the district’s 25 branches partially reopened early this month, offering limited computer access and staff-assisted pickup of library materials inside.

Though many library offerings have been reinstated, some will not return until July. Children’s story times as well as adult classes in English as a second language and English conversation will return next month along with other in-person education courses.

James said this delay in reopening all programs is contingent on people feeling comfortable enough to return to the libraries.

“We are as safe as we can possibly be,” James said. “The safety we’re providing, I would say, is top notch to any place that you want to go in town.”

Libraries across the county have installed hand sanitizing stations, plexiglass sneeze guards and social distancing signage. Library staff will also wear face masks and other personal protective equipment as required.

Customers who still want to limit contact with others may continue using online resources at the county library website. Online options with a free library card include downloading books, streaming movies and music, as well as accessing educational resources for kids, teens and adults.

Virtual story times, early childhood programs, STEAM (science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics) classes and other educational content for children and adults may also be streamed through the district’s new YouTube channel.

Most people James heard from during quarantine missed browsing through the shelves, touching the books and finding a quiet space to read.

James said he he is pleased to bring back the library’s many programs along with the simple act of browsing.

“I’m excited about it … to be able to open our services to everyone,” James said. “Today we had a lot of people showing up.”

Contact Amanda Bradford at abradford@reviewjournal.com. Follow @amandabrad_uc on Twitter.

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