BERNARDS TWP., NJ _ Another public gathering spot in town, the Bernards Township Library, will be closed to the public on beginning Monday, March 16, according to the library's website. "We hope to reopen on Monday, March 30," according to the website announcement that the library building will be closed to the public due to efforts to avoid the spread of COVID-19.

All library programming is canceled through Monday, April 6, according to the library's website.

The library also detailed other ways in which the public can continue to access the library's resource in further details posted about the closure.

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This weekend, the library will remain open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 14, and from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, March 15, according to an online message from Bernards Library Director Lyn Begraft.

However, even when the building is closed, staff will be in the building and can assist with using the library's online resources, answer reference questions or provide any other assistance the public may need via phone at 908-204-3031, email at reference@bernardslibrary.org, or text at 908-365-0776.

Township schools to close during same time period

School officials already have announced that township schools will close _ with students to initiate online learning _ during the same time period of March 16 through at least March 30.

For those students that will rely on the library for schoolwork _ along with all other library patrons _  the library's announcement listed ways in which different aspects of library services can be accessed:

Books and Audiobooks (Hoopla, Cloud Library, Tumblebooks)

Magazines (RBDigital)

Music (Hoopla)

Movies and TV Shows (Hoopla, Kanopy)

Online Tutoring (Mometrix)

Patrons who need to obtain a new library card, update their library card, or have assistance accessing these services are asked to call circulation at 908-204-3031 ext. 2, email reference@bernardslibrary.org, or a text to 908-365-0776. 

To reach the children's library, call 908-204-3031 ext. 3. Library officials said the staff is "happy to help you remotely in any way we can."

"As one of the most active and highly used public spaces in Bernards Township, the safety and well- being of our library users and community is our utmost priority," said the online notification from Begraft.

The message from the library director said the decision to close the library had been made "In light of the recent decision to close the Bernards Township schools, and after careful consideration of the public health imperative for social distancing."

"We understand how important the library is to our patrons," the message said, adding that the "library is always open when you visit us online."

"While this was a difficult decision to make, it one that was based upon well-informed necessity and care for those who not only visit us, but work for us as well, the message said.