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ACLS Updates: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information

COVID-19 Vaccination Information and Resources:

Updated April 22, 2021 at 2:30 PM

Latest Update:

Overdue Fines Resume in May

Allegany County Library System staff are delighted to see you and welcome you back into our libraries since reopening on March 1. We look forward to the next phase of reopening and all the possibilities to continue meeting the community’s needs.

Over the last year, the library system suspended charging overdue fines. We wanted to make sure our community and students could still access library resources and do our part to assist while the community was going through unprecedented changes.

With the reopening of our libraries, we will resume the assessing of overdue fines for adults. This was a difficult but necessary decision, as our operating budget relies on collecting overdue fines.

We wanted to make this transition back to overdue fines as smooth a process as possible.

Learn more about this update and the things we’re doing to reduce fine related barriers.

Phase 4: Welcome Back! Libraries reopen March 1!

The Allegany County Library System will welcome library users back into the library buildings with modifications to library operations as part of Phase 4 of the library reopening plan.  The library’s phased plan has progressed in accordance with the safety and health guidelines set by the State of Maryland and ongoing assessments of library staffing, facilities, resources, and supplies.

The Frostburg, George’s Creek, South Cumberland, Washington Street, and Westernport Libraries will open from 2:00 PM – 6:00 PM Monday through Thursday.  As per the Governor’s Order, masks are required for all users over the age of 5 and we ask that you refrain from entering the library if you or a household member is sick.  The library buildings will be limited to a fifteen (15) patron limit and one (1) hour visit.

Available services vary by location, but library users will be able to browse adult material, pick up holds, return items to the bookdrop, use the public computers, printers, and copier machines, as well as access the public WiFi at all reopening libraries.  As a reminder, the LaVale Library will not be reopening due to its scheduled renovations. 

Enhanced safety measures have led to these temporarily modified services and policies including, but not limited to:

  • Children’s rooms will be closed at the Washington Street and South Cumberland libraries.
  • Children under the age of 12 must be accompanied by and stay with a parent, guardian, or caregiver at least 16 years of age at all times while in the library.
  • All returned and out-of-county material will continue to be quarantined for at least 2 days.
  • Staff assistance is NOT available for the public computers or copiers. If you will need assistance, please bring someone with you.
  • Community meeting rooms are closed to the public.
  • Public restrooms are closed to the public.

The Allegany County Library System understands that this is an unprecedented and difficult time for many. We have taken the following steps to help remove barriers as much as possible to provide access to information and library services:

  • Sidewalk pickup may be available for users who require accommodation as our resources allow. Please call your library to check for information, fill out the Reasonable Accommodation Request Form online or print a copy and return it to your library.
  • Circulation system fines and fees will not be charged until May 1, 2021.
  • Previously, library users with a fine balance over $7 were not able to check-out physical library materials. Starting March 1, the fine limit will be raised to $20, allowing for more library users to access physical library material.
  • All library users, regardless of fine balance will continue to be able to access digital collections and resources.
  • We will temporarily waive the out of state library card fee of $10.
  • We will temporarily waive the replacement card fee of $1.
  • Library computer users will temporarily be able to print up to 2 black and white pages per day at no charge.

The Allegany County Library System is committed to ensuring the health and safety of our patrons, staff, and community. We have implemented these enhanced safety measures for Phase 4 of library reopening:

  • Hand sanitizer will be available throughout the open areas of the library.
  • Facilities will continue to be disinfected and cleaned on a nightly basis.
  • Library staff will continue to clean and disinfect “high touch” areas, such as door knobs and handles, hourly during operating hours.
  • Masks will be provided for those without one wishing to enter the library.
  • Library users will have access to cleaning supplies to disinfect public computer stations before and after sessions.
  • Public computers will have keyboard covers that will be changed hourly.
  • Library staff will disinfect the photocopier hourly.
  • The Allegany County Library System has taken the Mountain Maryland Pledge to Prevent to demonstrate our shared commitment to the health and wellbeing of our employees, patrons, and the community.

The Allegany County Library System is using guidelines from the CDC, the State of Maryland, and the Allegany County Health Department. Even as we follow these guidelines, as a public space and service we cannot guarantee a risk-free environment. Using the library service is your decision based on the needs of you and your family. For anyone not comfortable using the library’s physical materials, digital collections are available at www.alleganycountylibrary.info/ebooksandmore.

These hours and services are subject to change as library administration continues to assess library staffing, facilities, resources, and supplies as well as local health statistics related to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Please visit our website at www.alleganycountylibrary.info/coronavirus for the latest information and updates about library operations and reopening plans. 


Plans to Reopen Community Libraries

Because we know the COVID-19 virus is still present in our communities, we are taking a cautious approach to ensure we are equipped with the necessary supplies and procedures to ensure the health and safety of library patrons and staff.

The Library Board of Trustees adopted a reopening plan.  Library Director John Taube said “the Board’s primary motivation in adopting this plan is maintaining the safety of library patrons and staff while finding ways to provide necessary services that the library is uniquely positioned to perform.”  

The reopening plan consists of six (6) phases toward fully reopening and is based on the planning and guidelines from the Allegany County Health Department, the State of Maryland, the CDC, and other library systems in the region.  Taube continued “our staff have been yearning to come back to work and see their friends and neighbors and find new ways to provide the important services the community has come to know and love.“

Similar to the State of Maryland’s multi-phase Road to Recovery plan, the library’s phased plan to re-open will progress in accordance with the safety and health guidelines set by the State and ongoing assessments of library staffing, facilities, resources, and supplies.  

In subsequent phases of the plan, the library will reopen book drops, establish a sidewalk pickup service, add additional online events, and eventually reopen to the public.

Unfortunately, due to the timing of the state of emergency, we will not be reopening the LaVale Library prior to its long awaited renovation and expansion scheduled to start in mid-summer.  News and updates on the renovation as well as the reopening plans will be announced on the Library’s website, social media channels, and in the local media outlets.  

The library will continue to post its operating hours and other developments on the progress of the reopening plan on this page and social media pages. 

Enhanced Protocol

During this challenging time, the Allegany County Library System is committed to ensuring the health and safety to our patrons, staff, and community.

We recognize how valuable our libraries are to the community as a safe space for access, learning, and enrichment.

All fine related blocks on library accounts have been temporarily removed to allow access to online resources during this time of emergency.

No fines will be charged during this closure.

Library officials will continue to monitor the rapidly changing health crisis in the coming days and weeks, and we will respond accordingly. 

Remote Resources

Thanks to our recent software upgrade, your library materials will automatically be renewed two (2) times as long as an item does not have a hold.

We encourage you to check out the library’s many online materials that can be downloaded or streamed directly on your devices including eBooks, audiobooks, television shows, movies, music, newspapers and magazines.

ALL fine related blocks on library accounts have been temporarily removed to allow access to digital resources during this emergency.

Visit our Books, eBooks, and More page as well as our Research & Homework sections for all of our digital resources.

Public Health Recommendations

Keep Yourself and Your Community Healthy

  • Cover your mouth with a tissue or your upper sleeve when coughing or sneezing.
  • Discard used tissues immediately.
  • Wash your hands often for at least 20 seconds with soap and water or use hand sanitizer that is 60–90% alcohol-based.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Practice social distancing. Try to keep an optimal six-foot distance from other people.
  • Stay home if you are not feeling well or experiencing flu-like symptoms. Contact your doctor.

Health Information and Resources

To get the latest updates, go to the CDC CoronaVirus webpage

Maryland Department of Health Coronavirus webpage

Allegany County Health Department Coronavirus webpage