Eight Hennepin County libraries are now following the lead of restaurants and retail stores across the state by offering curbside pick up during the coronavirus Stay at Home order.
While its physical libraries are closed while the social distancing measures are in place, eight locations will now offer curbside pick up Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
These are the libraries where the service is available:
Library users can order a book for collection by first finding it on the Hennepin County Library website and placing a hold on any items they want, before selecting one of the sites with curbside pick up.
They will then be told via email or phone when their item is ready, at which point they can call the curbside pick up library to tell it they're ready to retrieve their order.
Staff will pull the items, check them out, put them in a plastic bag, and place the bag on a cart outside the building. Users can then find their bag when they arrive for pick up.
What's more, because library buildings remain closed, so are library book returns. That means the due date for any items checked out is not until three weeks after the library re-opens.
"Please do not attempt to use curbside pickup carts to return materials," the library system says. "This is essential to maintain safe handling of all materials."
Hennepin County has been in the news recently regarding the actions it's taken that affects its library staff.
Union leaders say 220 library specialists were told that with libraries closed, they have the option of being reassigned to work at one of three "homeless hotels" the county has set up during the COVID-19 crisis so they can retain paid work.
The alternative offered for anyone who doesn't want to do this is to use up all their PTO, and once it was used they would go into PTO debt by "borrowing" up to 240 hours of paid leave they would have to pay back.
If they didn't want to do that, they could take unpaid leave, but CityPages notes it's not clear if they qualify for unemployment if they take this option.