FAQ about Reopening

updated 5/18/2021


Thank you for your patience as Maud Preston Palenske Memorial Library staff members have been working to reinvent our service and create a thoughtful, responsible plan for a phased 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 the phased 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 reopen?

The library is opening in phases to make sure we can provide service safely.   In March, we will resume Phase 4:  the library will be open to the public. We will maintain our limited hours.   Masks and social distancing will be required.   Computer and wifi access will be available on the first come, first serve basis again.  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:


When can I request new items and how long will it take?

New requests for materials began on June 8th.  So far we are able to fill requests in a similar timeline as before.  We hope the turnaround will be a bit swifter now that there is no longer a need to quaranting the items for as long as previously required.  The CDC states that virus transmission on surfaces is not common. 


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

Yes! Browsing the collection is allowed.  We ask that you limit your visit (We still highly recommend placing holds in advance on whatever you can so that you can limit your time in the library, or make the most of your visit.  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.


Will you still do curbside even when the library reopens?

In a perfect world with a different building setup and enough staff, we would love to continue to provide this service.  Sadly, it is not sustainable for us as we reopen our interior services fully.   If, in accordance to evolving public health directives we must reverse phases in our reopening plan, we will re-evaluate the need, and determine if, where, and for how long this service would resume


Where do I return materials?

Please only 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 safely isolate all returned materials and ensure they are checked in properly before making them available for checkout.


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?

We cannot receive donated materials at this time.  We do not have room to quarantine the materials nor the space to house them.


Where can I donate my materials?

You can donate materials at a local Better World Books dropbox:

Martin's #23--Cleveland Ave--Stevensville:  5637 Cleveland Ave., Stevensville, MI 49127


Here are the material guidelines for what can be donated.



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, 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, continuous 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.

Patrons over age 2 are required to wear a facial covering in the library at all times.

We ask that you limit your visit to one hour, maximum.

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 must practice social distancing at all times.  Remain 6 feet away from others, and follow guidelines in the book stacks throughout the building.


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, patrons age 2 and up will also need to wear a mask or face covering at all times while in the library.  This will keep everyone as safe as possible.  If you are uncomfortable wearing a face covering for any reason, 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 will continue to quarantine all returned materials for 24 hours in an excess of caution before making them available for checkout. 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, maximum.