Following Saturday's confirmation of the first case of COVID-19 in Blaine County, a host of public-facing organizations and businesses have closed their doors. The three public libraries in the area have followed suit.
Bellevue and Hailey Public Libraries announced on Saturday, March 14, that they would be closing to the public, with The Community Library in Ketchum following the pattern on Sunday, March 15.
In a comment to an Idaho Mountain Express reporter on Saturday, Bellevue Mayor Ned Burns said, "We are closing the library to the public, but will allow materials to be checked out via phone or email with a 24-hour turn-around period to facilitate the gathering of requested materials. Check out times are extended to three weeks, late fees waived. We will decontaminate books as they return each time."
The Hailey Public Library has completely shuttered until at least Monday, April 6. In an official statement posted on its Facebook page, the organization wrote that all programs have been suspended and "items currently checked out to patrons will not be due until the library reopens. Additionally, we will not be accepting any donated materials."
The Hailey Library also took the opportunity to remind its patrons that it offers a wide array of online resources, including eBooks. Visit haileypubliclibrary.org to learn more.
The Community Library announced on Sunday that its primary building, plus The Gold Mine, Gold Mine Consign and the Regional History Museum, all of which the library owns, will be closed to the public effective Monday, March 16 (except for The Gold Mine, which closed on Sunday).
Jenny Emery Davidson, executive director of library, issued a statement on Sunday, saying, "We at The Community Library know that many peoples’ lives are disrupted right now, and we want to help our fellow community members navigate this uncertain time by continuing to provide Library services in responsible and creative ways. We can help people access digital services over the phone and online, and next week we plan to initiate a curbside check-out service."
Community Library employees will continue to work their regularly scheduled hours for the time being as the administrators work to determine exactly how long the closure will remain in place. The Community Library is a privately funded independent entity and is therefore not subject to certain governmental restrictions that could impact the other libraries.
Like Bellevue, The Community Library will offer some remote check-out services. A statement from the library said, "We will be implementing a concierge curbside check-out service beginning on Tuesday, March 17. If you call or email the Library with specific items you’d like to check-out and the time you will pick them up, we will check-out the materials and set them on the Library’s Spruce Street front porch for you. Stay tuned for details!"
The Community Library also offers a plethora of online resources, including eBooks, audio book resources and video streaming through Kanopy. Visit comlib.org for details and more information.