New safety measures are keeping readers safe as the Bethlehem Public Library reopens its doors

Written by on April 26, 2021

New safety measures are keeping readers safe as the Bethlehem Public Library reopens its doors

By Brittany Sweeney

April 26, 2021

Photo by Element5 Digital from Pexels

Libraries are turning a new page on the pandemic.

Doors at the Bethlehem Area Public Library have been reopened with safety measures in place.

Listen to the story.

Lehigh Valley libraries are back open for browsing both for books and the internet on socially distanced computers.

“Just out of an abundance of caution really, we’re still quarantining books after they come back in and some people don’t necessarily feel comfortable understandably, taking a book that just came from a stranger’s hand. So we have a whole large section in our first floor, now it’s our materials quarantine handling zone, “ says Josh Burke, executive director of the Bethlehem Area Public Library.

The library has also removed all of the chairs so once people check out books they have to leave, he says.  

And library staff will start collecting late fees again.

“We’re not trying to balance our budget on nickels and dimes, although it does add up, and it does help the library’s operating revenue. But really, they’re just to keep the flow of things coming in and out, everyone needs a little incentive to get things back on time, especially when there’s someone waiting for it,” he says. 

The main library in Bethlehem is back to normal hours, Burke says, but the South Side branch has limited hours of operation.

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