Library closes after patrons ignore COVID-19 safety
Director Jeanie Bartel misses taking a few minutes out of her day at Hillsboro’s Public Library to chat, but it will be months before she is able to see visitors face-to-face.
She and the board decided to close the library’s doors indefinitely after several people who were positive for or had been exposed to COVID-19 visited the building.
All five employees went into quarantine after a staffer tested positive for the virus.
Bartel said staff will be available to fill checkout requests, take calls, and respond to emails, but the lack of cooperation with COVID-19 protocols by some forced them to protect staff and the public by locking the doors.
“We hate to close,” Bartel said over her cell phone from inside the empty library’s glass doors. “But when all five are quarantined, there is no one to even open the library.”
A sign near the door informs patrons of the library’s guidelines and to stay away if they have been exposed to the virus or are feeling ill — and masks are to be worn.
But on several occasions, people have casually told Bartel and other staff that they or a family member either had the virus or had been exposed.
“They waited until they were inside the building to tell us this,” she said, adding. “It’s happened three times with me personally.”
People who test positive or have been exposed to COVID-19 are typically asked to quarantine for up to 14 days.
Those who do not wear masks in public places in Hillsboro can also be fined $25 or $100 under an ordinance passed in November.
Bartel said library staffers are doing well and she is thankful for that.
Books, magazines, and other periodicals are still available to be checked out and late fees are waived because materials need to be quarantined before they can be shelved, Bartel said.
Copying and printing is still available.
Patrons are asked to call (620) 947-3827, or email their requests.
Staff will fill the order and place it in a bag on a table outside the library’s door
Last modified Dec. 31, 2020