FAQ about Reopening

updated 1/4/2022


Maud Preston Palenske Memorial Library staff members have been working to reinvent our service and create a thoughtful, responsible plan for reopening.    With more than 100,000 customer visits per year, the library is being cautious with reopening plans.

We know you have lots of questions about what to expect during reopening.  We have answers below.  Thank you for your continued patience as we find ways to provide service as safely as possible.


When will the library fully reopen?

Beginning January 10th, the library will be closed to the general public.   We will be offering Curbside Service.   This will be reevaluated at the end of the month. 

Services available : 

    Books and materials are circulating.  Place your requests for titles in advance.   You can do that online through the library catalog,  or by calling the library Mon-Fri at (269) 983-7167.   There is a limit of 10 items per card.
    Computers, Wifi and printing, and Newspapers (Limit of 1 hour, no renewals or extensions) - call for an appointment.  First come, first serve.
    Fax, scanner, and Copier service is available
    Reference services.

We will maintain our limited hours.   Masks and social distancing are recommended.   Computer and wifi access is available on the first come, first serve basis.  To speed up your visit, you can place requests for items by phone or online using your library account in the online catalog.   You will be notified when the items are available for you to pick up.  

Full reopening will be based on evolving public health directives. 


Borrowing and Returning Materials:

Can I come into the library to pick up my materials?

We will only be offering curbside service.    We highly recommend placing holds in advance.  You will be notified once they are available for pick up.    You are welcome to contact the library during our open hours and staff will assist in selecting materials for checkout.  The items will be pulled for hold pick up.  Staff are also happy to assist you in how to place holds online using the library catalog.


Where do I return materials?

You can use the provided book drops:  The box along the alley, at the circulation desk, and at the children's desk. Using the drop boxes allows us to ensure all returned materials are checked in properly before making them available for checkout.   We no longer quarantine returned items.  The CDC states that virus transmission on surfaces is not common.


Can I request materials using MEL and interlibrary loan?

MELCAT borrowing and lending is available.  Some libraries may still have services suspended, so we may not be able to get all items in the MEL catalog.  Many libraries around the state are still not open and don't have staff in their buildings to search for requested materials.


Are you accepting book donations?

The friends of the library have resumed accepting donated materials.   Please see our Book Donation Guidelines.



Meeting Rooms

When will my group be able to use your meeting rooms?  

As long as the CDC and the Berrien County Health Department guidelines require or recommend limiting the size of gatherings indoors, we will not be taking meeting room reservations.  Additionally, while we are required to limit the overall number of people in the building we cannot accommodate meetings within the library.


Health and Safety

Is it safe to visit the library?

We are exceeding all the precautions recommended by the CDC and the Berrien County Health Department to mitigate risks in the library for staff and customers.  This includes wearing masks, social distancing, disinfecting, and limiting the number of people in our building.   Only you can decide if any visit outside your home is safe.  We have greatly expanded digital access to materials and also are offering pickup service to help deliver library materials and services to you as safely as possible. 


What should I know before visiting the library?

Please place all returning materials in the return drop boxes.   Please do not leave returns on counters or return to staff.

It is recommended that patrons over age 2 wear a facial covering inside the library at all times.  See the reasoning here.  

We ask that you limit your visit to one hour.

No more than 100 people are allowed in the building at one time (including staff).

No food or beverages are permitted unless medically necessary.

Patrons should practice social distancing whenever possible.  Remain 6 feet away from others.


Do I need to wear a mask?

Per the State of Michigan directives, all library staff are required to wear masks at work.   We are happy to oblige with this requirement as there are more instances documented that indicate that wearing a mask is an important tool for preventing the spread of COVID-19.  Currently, it is recommended that patrons age 2 and up should wear a mask indoors in public spaces (like a library).  This will keep everyone as safe as possible.  If you are sick, we ask that you please do not come into the library.  We will be happy to help you by phone or email. 


Can I get COVID-19 from touching library materials?

Scientific studies indicate that it is highly unlikely that people contract COVID-19 from touching things.  As a precaution, wash your hands frequently and do not touch your face.


Do you clean all returned materials? 

Scientific studies indicate that spread from touching surfaces is not thought to be a common way that COVID-19 spreads.   We do not need to clean the materials.  Customers should not clean materials as many products are harmful to library materials. 


Will you still have play areas?

To comply with the CDC and Berrien County Health Department guidelines, we have removed all high touch objects in our children's areas.  We are asking patrons not to linger in the library, and to limit their visit to one hour.