Rochester Public Library is putting its efforts to reopen to the public on hold because of the recent increase in COVID-19 cases in Olmsted County.

“We continue to watch the dial and listen to public health officials about COVID-19 activity locally, and we are also mindful of our staff capacity as we operate our other ongoing services," Library Director Audrey Betcher said.

Earlier this month, Betcher announced plans for “Library Express,” a by-appointment option for browsing and borrowing materials and other limited activities. At the time, the City of Rochester COVID-19 Risk Dial was below the high-risk level as the local case positivity rate and other indicators held steady in the moderate-risk category.

In the meantime, library customers can still access books and materials through curbside pickup, the digital library and other options.

Earlier this month, library staff moved its popular curbside pickup service into the Civic Center Ramp for the winter months. Staff also continue to work with the city’s COVID-19 Information Hotline, which has experienced a higher call volume recently.

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“We expect more demand on both the call center and our curbside services if COVID-19 cases keep rising,” Betcher said. “Once our cases start to decline, and we’re back in the moderate to minimal risk levels, we will be ready to offer Library Express.”

The by-appointment Library Express service is expected to allow visitors a chance to browse and borrow materials, access library computers, ask questions, apply for a library card and use WiFi.

Betcher said customers will be able to book up to 45-minutes to complete their activities, with staff using 15 minutes each hour for additional cleaning.

For now, library cardholders can visit rplmn.org or call 507-328-2300 to place holds, access digital resources or utilize other ways to access materials and information.