As you are likely aware, Minnesota has a number of diagnosed cases of the novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, which is a respiratory illness currently being spread from person to person in many countries, including the United States.

Current guidance from public health officials stresses the importance of “flattening the curve,” i.e., slowing the rate of transmission of the disease to avoid overloading the health care system, as has happened in Italy. Important to flattening the curve is “social distancing,” measures that are taken to increase the physical space between people to slow the spread of the virus, such as working from home or canceling gatherings.

In the interest of protecting our staff and patrons – in particular the high-risk populations we serve and the high-risk populations who work and volunteer for us – the library is canceling all programs and events during the month of March. At this time, the library will continue to operate with standard hours.

Our interest is to continue serving your library needs while maintaining the safety and health of our staff and public.

We also continue to follow best hygiene practices for workplaces – including regularly cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and equipment in our building, making hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes available to staff and patrons, and encouraging frequent hand-washing.

We have removed from the children’s area toys, puzzles and other playthings that are difficult to clean and sanitize.

As some patrons have asked, the Library does not currently disinfect borrowed materials when they are checked in or as they are browsed or used in-house. Disinfecting these types of items and materials is currently not recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

We encourage any concerned patrons, especially those in high-risk populations, to stay home if they are feeling ill or are simply concerned about potential exposure.

We will continue to communicate any further impacts to the library as a result of coronavirus. In the meantime, as a reminder, the library has many digital services available to you for free, such as eBooks and eAudiobooks; streaming video; and digital access to newspapers and magazines.

Thank you for your patience as we work through this developing situation.