Time to Book It Back to the Library (If You’ve Got an Appointment, That Is!)

L.E. Phillips Library will allow in-person appointments starting July 1

Tom Giffey, photos by Andrea Paulseth

Actual, physical books IRL.
Actual, physical books IRL.

It’s been more than three months since patrons have been able to visit the inside of the L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library. Beginning Wednesday, July 1, that will change as the Eau Claire’s public library starts to allow limited, in-person appointments as it enters the first phase of reopening safely amid the coronavirus pandemic.

According to a Monday announcement from the library, in-person appointments will be divided into three categories: browsing books and materials, adult computer/internet use, and access for at-risk populations.

During in-person appointments, patrons will be asked to wear face masks (disposable masks will be available) and to practice physical distancing from other patrons and staff members. Patrons should not make appointments if they are feeling ill or have been exposed to someone suffering from COVID-19 symptoms.

“In-person library appointments are expected to be extremely popular,” the library said in a news release. “Between materials pickup, in-person browsing, and computer use, the library will serve up to 240 customers per day. This is 20% of the library’s average daily visits (approximately 1,200) under normal conditions.”

Here are some more details:

  • Browsing Books and Other Materials: Customers may now call (715) 839-5066 to schedule one-hour browsing appointments between 10am and 4pm, Monday through Friday. A maximum of ten customers will be allowed to browse each hour. There is no minimum age requirement for making appointments. However, each member of a family/unit will be counted towards the 10 person per hour limit.
  • Adult-Only Computer/Internet Use: Customers may call (715) 839-5004 or email reference@eauclaire.lib.wi.us to schedule 75-minute computer appointments between 10:15am and 4pm, Monday through Friday. A maximum of five customers will be allowed per session. Computer stations have been relocated to accommodate social distancing.
  • Access for At-Risk Populations: Older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions may be at higher risk of severe illness related to COVID-19. The library will reserve appointments every Wednesday from 10am to noon for these customers. Customers may call (715) 839-5066 to schedule these appointments.

To learn more details about in-person library appointments, visit www.ecpubliclibrary.info/covid.

The library will continue to provide pick-up service, as it has since May. To learn how to use this drive-through service, visit www.ecpubliclibrary.info/pickup-service.