Public library launches in-person browsing services

Story by Adam Kwoh
Copy Editor

Photo by Oscar Walsh
Staff Photographer

The South Pasadena Public Library reopened its doors to the community for the first time in more than a year, beginning its partial in-person reopening on Monday, May 17. Residents are now able to browse and borrow from the library’s collection as part of the “Library Abridged” program.

Only some specific services are available in-person as part of the modified program; besides browsing and borrowing, this includes picking up self-service holds, using a library computer, printing, using restrooms, and getting help from the local librarians. Two stations have also been set up — one for each entrance door — to separate in-person services and no contact pick-up for patrons using the library’s virtual hold service.

Besides required masking and social distancing, the library has also mandated employee training in order to clean and disinfect workspaces before and after their shifts. Public counters have been fitted with plexiglass barriers and hand sanitizer stations are now available. Additionally, capacity is being limited in compliance with L.A. Public Health guidelines. 

“The process for implementing proper health and safety conditions that align with [public health] protocols was a little complex. Each time we pivot to provide service in a different model, we have to prepare, train our staff, and publicize,” Public Services Manager Maida Wong said. “Also, in preparation… we had to make sure our egress lighting is up to code, that air filtration is adequate, that all of our furniture is arranged to facilitate access and compliance, etc.”

Sophomore Tia Guang is excited to borrow and browse in the library once more and hopes that the community will do the same.

“It is a privilege to be able to have these books, news, and resources around us and now it is even easier to get access to them,” Guang said. “I’ve personally met a few people in the library and became friends, so [the library] gives me a sense of community. Outside of COVID, it’s a great studying place to hold activities for both kids and adults.”

The “Library’s Abridged” program is the first step in the City’s reopening plan. The Planning, Building, and Public Works will begin accepting in-person appointments on Monday, May 31, while the Senior Center plans to reopen on Monday, June 7 at 25 to 50 percent capacity for certain activities. City Council and commission meetings will transition back to in-person in mid-June or early July.

“We are very excited to open the doors to your facilities so that we can serve you in-person wherever possible,” Interim City Manager Sean Joyce said in a May 12 City press release. “We encourage the public to continue to make appointments when visiting city facilities and follow protocols posted prominently at each city facility per Los Angeles County Health Orders.”

The library plans to continue offering its services during the “Library Abridged” program, as well as its annual summer reading program online.

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