RIVER FALLS — The pubic library on Monday, Feb. 22, began offering limited in-person access under a new pass system.

Here’s how it works, according to the website:

The building is open with limited capacity 2-6 p.m. Monday through Friday. Passes to enter will be provided depending on occupancy levels staff can support.

  • 10 minute “fast passes” to pick up a hold or check out an item you already know the location of
  • 30 minute browsing passes for more time to select your items
  • 1 hour computer passes to allow access to computers, printers, and copier
  • 1 hour study room passes for a quiet place to take a test or study

A total of 32 patrons checked in with passes on opening day, mostly with the the 10-minute pass to quickly pick up items on the hold shelf, adult services and circulation librarian Heather Johnson said. Though several people also were excited to be able to browse the collections and pick out puzzles again.

"Yesterday was a very rewarding day for everyone," Johnson said by email on Tuesday. "The hardworking staff at the River Falls Public Library have been preparing for this reopening for quite some time and their dedication and excellent customer service skills paid off."

What to know

Library-goers could be asked to wait in their vehicle or the lobby if the type of pass they want is not available. No more than two people per family will be allowed in, and each family member will need a pass.

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Everyone is asked to wear a mask and clean their hands.

The use of self-checkouts is encouraged and the book drop at the circulation desk is permanently closed. Returned items are kept in quarantine for several days before being checked back in.

Find more details about the reopening and pandemic changes can be found at https://www.riverfallspubliclibrary.org/covid19.html .

From the library director

River Falls Public Library closed its doors nearly a year ago, while adding virtual and curbside services due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a statement Monday from Library Director Tanya Misselt:

“I will always look back on this year with organizational pride that we rose to the challenge. Despite the constant unraveling of the world we knew, library staff persisted in finding new and creative ways to serve the public, as we searched for opportunities to meet community needs. It was a year that required not only ongoing problem solving but also organizational flexibility. Our ability to recover programs and services following the impact of the pandemic on our operations was a testament to our resilience.

“I have no doubt that some of the conveniences developed during the pandemic will continue to drive programs and services into a post pandemic world. For example, I anticipate that patrons will continue to want live-streamed and recorded programs in addition to in-person programs. This allows patrons the convenience of staying at home and watching programs at their convenience. Virtual programs have also made it a lot easier for the library to bring in a variety of high-quality speakers from far away, at dramatically reduced fees.”

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