ACLS Updates: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information
Updated October 27 12:00 PM
Moving to Phase 4 on November 9
On November 9, 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 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’s AND adult collections will be closed at the Frostburg and George’s Creek 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 5 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 by request as our resources allow. Please call your library to check for availability. Masks are required for this pickup arrangement as well.
- Circulation system fines and fees will not be charged until January 4, 2021.
- Previously, library users with a fine balance over $7 were not able to check-out physical library materials. Starting November 9, 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 20 black and white pages per week 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 or pickup material.
- 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.
We currently in Phase III of the library’s reopening plan.
- Sidwalk Pick-up Service is available Monday- Thursday 2:30-5:30 PM Learn more here.
- All Allegany County Library System buildings will be closed to the public until November 9.
- Outdoor story times are planned for parks throughout the county this Fall. Learn more here.
- All library book drops are now OPEN (with the exception of the LaVale Library’s drop)
- Please remove items from bags and containers before placing in the drop.
- Items will be quarantined for 5 days after returned from the drop. Please expect to see these items appear as checked-out to you for at least 120 hours after you have placed them in the drop.
- The library will NOT be accepting donations at this time.
- Reopening plans have been established by the library and approved by the Library Board of Trustees.
- The reopening plan consists of six (6) phases to fully reopen based on guidelines from the Allegany County Health Department, the State of Maryland, the CDC, and other library systems in the region.
- Phase III is in motion: deep cleaning and disinfecting of library facilities, the gathering of necessary supplies and equipment, staff entry into library buildings, the reopening of book drops, additional virtual and outdoor events, and sidewalk service.
- 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.
- Due to the timing of the state of emergency, the LaVale Library will not reopen prior to its scheduled renovation.
- Any fines accrued after March 13 will be waived until at least January 4.
- Online Registration is now available for new users to access online services.
- ALL fine related account blocks have been temporarily removed to allow access to eBooks and other digital resources.
- Parents and guardians can use STAR Card Request form to request their child’s STAR Card number for students to access online resources and sidewalk service. Please send us your child’s full name and birth date.
- All inside library events, programs, and outreach are cancelled until further notice.
- We have created a Frequently Asked Questions page to answer some of the most common questions during this time.
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.
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.
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.
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
- CDC: What you need to know Fact Sheet – English, Spanish, Chinese
- CDC: What to do if you are sick Fact Sheet – English, Spanish, Chinese
The Allegany County Health Department has set up a call center for questions related to Coronavirus for patients, clients, members of the public. Please call 301-759-5000 Monday- Friday 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM.
Maryland State Library Resource Center – Coronavirus COVID-19: Links You Can Trust