How are Dubuque County libraries providing access


Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses such as restaurants, retailers, salons, and even libraries have had to close down or change their ways of operation to provide safe conditions. Libraries are an essential part of many peoples lives whether for school purposes, learning, and enjoyment. The Dubuque County Library and Carnegie-Stout Public Library have taken various actions to provide services to the public and efforts to keep the facility healthy.

The Dubuque County Library is providing access to material through two methods. The library currently has access to physical materials through “touch-free” events. The next touch-free event will be held on Friday, May 15th. Access to materials such as eBooks, emagazines, and databases are all available through the libraries website. Director of the library, Michael Wright noted that “the library has about 50k eBooks, about 10k downloadable audio books, and several hundred online magazines.”

“When items are returned they are quarantined for 72 hours to ensure that any microbes are dead.”

Michael Wright, Director of Dubuque County Library

In regards of when the Dubuque County library will be open to the public, it is unclear when; however, Wright had said soon. The library has already put up plexiglass shields at service desks and staff will be supplied with masks and gloves. Cleaning will occur multiple times throughout the day and the library will be asking the public to wear masks when coming to the building. As well, in order to keep up with social distancing, few computers will be removed along with furniture.

The Dubuque Carnegie-Stout Library is not open to the public at this time. Though the library does have virtual access for people. Library director Susan Hendricks when into detail about access to materials. Those interested in virtual materials have options to check out ebooks, e-audio, music, magazines, and stream movies. The music comes in a form of download that people are allowed to keep and have no worry to return; however, one can get five songs per week with a library card.

“People are attending virtual programs. Several story times are offered a week. Also, Free internet access is available outside the library building.”

Susan Hendricks, Director of Dubuque Carnegie-Stout Public Library

In terms of when the library will be opening, on Monday, May 18th curbside delivery will be available. Library materials can be reserved online or one can call the library. Those who reserve materials will be notified when their items are ready and will be able to pick up on the Locust Street side of the library.

The Dubuque Carnegie-Stout Library will reopen for limited services when there is a significant decrease of cases or have not had a reported case in two weeks in Dubuque County. When the library reopens, limited services will mean no programs, limited amount of people entering the building, and few public computers. There will be floor marking to ensure social distancing, staff will be wearing masks and gloves, plexiglass barriers will be put at public service desks, and cleaning will be enforced multiple times a day. 

The Dubuque County Library and Dubuque Carnegie-Stout Library are currently not open to the public; however, both are opening up curbside based services to provide physical materials, and both have online access to a large selection of materials. 

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Morgan is a freshman at Loras College, and is from Dubuque, Iowa. An anchor and reporter for LCTV news. She is majoring in Marketing and Media Studies.

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