WOOD-RIDGE, NJ - After being closed for 111 days, the Wood-Ridge Memorial Library re-opened its door on Monday, observing new safety protocols.

Library Director Erin Hughes opened the doors and welcomed back residents back to the library at 11am on Monday. Residents came to get books, videos, and use the computers. 

"I feel like to haven't seen you in a couple of months," said one resident.

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"I'm so glad you're open!" said Marie, another resident.

Wood-Ridge Memorial 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, Hughes, who started in January, was busy.

"I weeded and re-organized the entire collection," said Hughes. "I went from top to bottom. I organized every shelf, "Lysoled" every shelf."

She worked closely with the Wood-Ridge DPW which installed a plastic shield, sprayed the furniture, and "did as much as they possibly could." She also created a large "Welcome Back" banner for the computer area, reminding users of the social distancing and new time limits. 

Aside from the mandatory masks and social distancing, there is a capacity limit of ten people, or 25%, and reduced operating hours. Hughes was logging people in and tallying headcount on what she called a "deli counter" behind the main desk. 

While children's group and in-person activities are still canceled, Hughes is looking toward the fall.

"We're hoping in the fall that we'll follow what the schools do," she said, who noted "they're working hard to figure it out."

Hughes noted that they have "tons and tons of new books, from January, February and March...refreshing the paperback collection" and registration is open for the virtual Summer Reading program.

"Our entire model is based on is based on the fact that people can gather in groups, and that's problematic now," observed Hughes. "That's why we're being so mega-cautious with the masks and the sanitizer." She explained that most of her patrons are in a vulnerable group, over the age of 60 or under the age of 10.

"I want to make sure that everybody is the safest they can be," she said.

Additional information can be found on the Wood-Ridge Memorial Library's website.


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