After a year of the coronavirus pandemic and renovations to the building, Oak Ridge Public Library will re-open on March 29. The library will re-open in two phases, the city said in a press release.
The first phase, from March 29 through May 29, will allow patrons to browse the main library and Children’s Room, use public computers, and enjoy the newly renovated library space, the press release said. Library hours will be limited to Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Curbside pickup will continue during this first phase. Curbside hours, however, will change to Monday through Saturday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., the press release said.
The Oak Ridge Room will be open by appointment, and all programming will remain virtual, the release said. The auditorium will remain closed to the public. Public restrooms will be open, but water fountains will not be available.
Because COVID-19 is still a concern, everyone visiting the library will be required to wear a mask that covers both the mouth and nose. Temperature checks, health screening, and social distancing measures will be in place, the press release said.
“If you are not able to wear a mask, please let us help you either through our curbside service or over the phone at (865) 425-3455,” the release said.
If COVID cases continue to decline and access to vaccines becomes widespread, the second phase of re-opening will begin June 1, and the library will let patrons do all of the above as well as access the Oak Ridge Room on Tuesday through Saturday, the press release said.
Beginning June 1, library hours will resume a normal summer schedule:
- Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
- Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The library will not offer curbside service after May 29. As a reminder, city facilities and the Oak Ridge Public Library will be closed on May 31 due to the Memorial Day holiday, the press release said.
Indoor, in-person programming will remain canceled. However, outdoor, in-person programming will begin on June 7 with the beginning of the Summer Reading Program, the release said. The library will be offering a Summer Reading Program for both children and adults for the first time this year.
“During the past year, city staff has made the best of a difficult time by renovating and rearranging the library,” said Oak Ridge Public Library Director Julie Forkner. “Rather than risk having to close a second time in order to renovate, library staff took advantage of the time being closed due to COVID to recarpet, repaint, and rethink the library.”
Not only does the library now have a new roof, the Oak Ridge Room has been greatly expanded, creating enhanced access to all of the library’s local history holdings.
“In addition, thanks to a generous donation from Bechtel, the library’s workroom was renovated to provide distance and partitioning between library workers, as well as an updated workspace,” Forkner said.
The library’s auditorium has been recarpeted; old window treatments have been replaced; and the lobby and hallways have been cleared and repainted, the press release said. Also, the library sidewalk has been repaved, and both entrances to the library now have automatic openers.
“The upgrades are just the beginning of several planned projects that will update the library and make it easier for everyone to use the space,” the press release said.
Anyone who received a digital access card to use the library during the past year is invited to come into the library after March 29 with a picture identification and proof of address to transition their digital access card to a full privilege library card, the release said.
Regardless of phase, both library staff and patrons will be required to wear masks until Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance changes, the press release said.
“This plan is dependent on COVID cases continuing to decrease in our community and is subject to change,” the release said.
For more information, call the Oak Ridge Public Library at (865) 425-3455, visit ORPL.org, or follow the library on Facebook and Twitter at @OakRidgePubLib.