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Rochester Public Library Prepares to Close March 18, 2020 in Response to COVID-19
The health and safety of all teammates and our entire community continue to be the City of Rochester’s top priority. Following the social distancing guidelines of the Minnesota Department of Public Health, the Rochester Public Library (RPL) will close starting March 18, 2020.
“The library is one of the City’s most-used community gathering spaces,” says City Administrator, Steve Rymer. “Without closing the library, teammates are unable to guarantee enough social distancing to help prevent the potential spread of the COVID-19.”
The library will continue to monitor the situation and will be closed until further notice.
On March 15, 2020, Governor Tim Walz announced closing all schools in Minnesota in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. RPL will follow the closing schedule of Rochester Public Schools and begin planning for ways to continue to offer services to the community. At the end of last week, library programs and Bookmobile service were suspended and staff made the decision to extend due dates on all library materials.
“We want people to have the flexibility to keep their items,” says Karen Lemke, Head of Marketing and Community Engagement at RPL. Materials currently checked out are not due until April 30, 2020 at the earliest.
Meanwhile, resources have been added to the library’s digital collection, which is available 24/7. Library staff is also looking at unique ways to provide service, including keeping staff on hand to provide online and phone information services. A variety of resources are available at www.rplmn.org.
“The library’s virtual information desk will stay open as much as possible so we can provide service to the community,” says Lemke. Library staff will be available via online chat, by text at 507-722-1581, or by phone at 507-328-2300.
For updates on library service, visit www.rplmn.org/covid.