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Encinitas Public Library
An employee at Encinitas Public Library delivers a customer’s book order with respect to social distancing procedures. Photo by Caitlin Steinberg
Encinitas Featured

Public libraries across county reopen with limited services

ENCINITAS — After nearly 10 weeks closed, the San Diego County Library will open select locations for pick-up service and begin scaled-down, modified programming for the summer months.

Locations in Encinitas, Imperial Beach, Alpine, Ramona, Vista and Borrego Springs will offer limited door-side services beginning May 26, Monday through Friday, from 10 am to 4 pm. The following week on June 1, locations in Poway, El Cajon, Julian, Solana Beach, San Marcos, and Bonita will open for similar services as well.

“We are excited to begin serving our communities and customers in-person again,” San Diego County Library Director Migell Acosta said.

All door-side pickup will be scheduled on an individual basis with respect to Coronavirus disinfection and safety procedures, requiring masks and adhering to social distancing during the pick-up process.

“Right now, we’re calling and setting up individual appointments with customers who have reserves and holds on books,” Kristin Ward, Principal Librarian for the San Diego County Library System, said. “They can set up a time and pick up their materials at any of the open locations.”

After reaching out to those with book holds at the first 11 open locations, then Library staff will begin contacting customers with temporary holds at closed Library locations.

Currently, customers can not check out new books unless they held a reservation prior to the libraries closures in March, however, Ward sees those procedures developing in the future.

Encinitas Public Library
Starting May 26, select San Diego County libraries will offer pick-up services for books placed on hold prior to the outbreak of coronavirus. Photo by Caitlin Steinberg

For now, they are still not accepting returns or charging late fees, requesting customers hold onto all materials until further notice as local libraries wait on a medical study from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) out of Washington D.C..

The study will explore how Coronavirus survives on surfaces such as book pages, covers, and other materials as well as how to properly disinfect such surfaces so that library collections don’t become large scale sources of infection.

According to the IMLS, collecting institutions such as libraries and museums see over 1.35 billion visitors each year, amounting to more than all major league sporting events and theme parks in the nation combined.

The study will give libraries and museums the confidence and knowledge to safely open their collections to customers.

Until then, San Diego County has adjusted its summer programming, offering virtual programming.

“You’ll be able to log your reading hour and activities online,” Ward said. “Additionally, customers will be able to complete ‘missions’ that include activities highlighting how local non-profits are helping our communities.”

By completing online “mission” assignments such as watching an animal camera at the Zoo or going on a virtual hike, customers will receive virtual badges and awards.

In addition, local libraries will be providing activity books for families and children with limited access to the internet. The activity books will be given out at any County Library’s summer lunch sites for children run by the San Diego Hunger Coalition.

For more information on San Diego County Library’s summer online programming or door-side pickup service, visit

1 comment

Mark Erickson September 21, 2020 at 1:17 am

I think it’s ridiculous not to accept returns on the assumption that a book probably passes corona virus. We’ve been over-reacting to it like no other disease throughout history. We probably never needed stay-at-home orders, either.

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