Boulder libraries are reopening more services as concerns about COVID-19 subside



The Boulder Public Library is opening additional services to the public after several months of complete closure. Previously, the library had operated with limited services.

In a series of tweets last week, library officials announced that they had reopened the main stacks – the section that contains new fiction, nonfiction, graphic novels, and more.

Bookcases previously closed during the pandemic restrictions were accessible in the main branch of the Boulder Public Library on Monday. (Matthew Jonas / employee photographer)

“Basically, we will begin reopening various parts of the library throughout the month of June,” said Annie Zaruba, communications specialist at Boulder Public Library.

She said the reason for this lengthy process was the need to remove the plexiglass barriers erected during the pandemic.

Other new openings include the entire second level, which includes all non-fiction books, additional seating, relaxation rooms and meeting rooms. Building 61, a makerspace, was also reopened last week.

However, the library will not fully reopen as the Canyon Theater and northern annex will remain closed. Zaruba said that while the Canyon Gallery is in the northern annex, it will be open for limited events.

“We laid off 66 employees last summer, so it was really difficult to reopen these services without having actual headcount,” said Zaruba.

She said she hoped the theater could reopen soon, but added that it “doesn’t look promising”.

The main library is part of a five-part puzzle that is still suffering from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“What really influenced our services are our other branches,” said Zaruba.

According to an announcement made in April 2021, the Boulder Public Library system is facing a budget shortage of approximately $ 1.3 million. The post notes that parts of the shortage affect the library’s ability to recruit staff.

The budget gap has forced other branches of the system to continue operating with limited services. Of the five branches, two are open: the main library and the Meadows branch library.

The NoBo Corner Library and the George Reynolds Branch Library will remain closed, but will only offer take-away service by appointment. The Carnegie Library for Local History will remain closed to the public.

Additional programs and services offered in previous years will not be available this year due to staffing and budget issues in the library system.

“We really do our best to do the best we can with the small staff we have,” said Zaruba.

The library continues to monitor the COVID-19 situation and is following state and county recommendations for business operations.



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