HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, NJ -  After being closed since mid-March, the Free Public Library of Hasbrouck Heights re-opened its doors on Tuesday, observing new safety protocols.

Library Director Mimi Hui opened the doors and welcomed back residents back to the library at 11am on Tuesday. 25 residents came to get books and videos, and other materials. 

"Welcome everyone...it's so nice to see everybody," Hui told Tuesday's first guests. "We love having you, we missed you."

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Borough resident Kristin Doherty was the first guest of the day, who was there to pick up a book she had reserved.

"I want to take a look around and see what else I could get while I was here," she said.

The Hasbrouck Heights Library closed in mid-March.  New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced the re-opening of libraries on June 24, and confirmed on July 1. The re-opening plan was coordinated by the library board and borough officials. While the building was closed, Hui and her staff continued to work throughout the shutdown, offering curbside pickup of books and crafts, and preparing for the re-opening.

"In the months that we've been closed, we've been really working hard, organizing, setting up the library just to make it appealing," she said.

During the closure, Hui said the library was deep cleaned twice, along with all items on the shelves.

There are a number of new protocols put in place for the safety of the staff and guests, said Hui. It begins with a three-step check-in process: mask, temperature check, and appointment confirmation. Hui said the phone has been "ringing off the hook" for people wanting to come in. 

Guests can check out items two ways: at the Circulation Desk by a staff member or through the self-checkout scanner at the desk or by an app.

"In this age of COVID, you have to think of the end-user," said Hui. "I truly believe in the safety of them."

The library also has an occupancy limit of five visitors per half hour. Newly-installed floor markings show guests traffic flow. New signage posted in the building remind people about social distancing and face masks. Hand sanitizer stations are also located throughout the building. Children under 14 years old must be accompanied by an adult at all times.

The biggest change is the plexiglass barriers installed through the library, including the Circulation Desk, Reference Department, and computer stations (the PCs are not yet available to the public.)

Hui gave a "special thanks" to the Hasbrouck Heights DPW which created and installed the barriers.

"Keith Brown at the DPW handmade all the plexiglass barriers for us," she said. "They really personalized to make sure that we've back on our feet, just to make the public feel welcomed again."

Books and materials can continue to be returned to the book drop box located behind Borough Hall or the book bin at the Circulation Desk. All returned items will be quarantined for 72 hours. Curbside Pick up Service will continue to be available.

"We want to welcome people back again to get reconnected with their library," said Hui,. "My staff and I have missed the public tremendously."

"We want to open and make people feel welcomed once more, that your library is available to you," she said. "We're on the road to recovery."


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