KATY MAGAZINE NEWS
November 5, 2020
By Natalie Cook Clark
Fort Bend County Libraries start phase two of reopening during the COVID-19 pandemic today. Locally, the Cinco Ranch Branch Library offers limited in-person services.
Katy's Cinco Ranch Branch Library Among Fort Bend Libraries Welcoming Patrons
Four of the public libraries in Fort Bend County have been operating as Grab-and-Go locations, but that changes today. George Memorial Library in Richmond, Missouri City Branch Library, Sienna Branch Library, and Katy’s Cinco Ranch Branch Library all will welcome in-person patrons today, with restrictions.
“We miss all of our patrons, and we know how important our libraries are to their daily lives,” says Library Director Clara Russell. “We want to return to ‘normal’ service as soon as possible, but this needs to happen in phases so that we can keep everyone safe and healthy.”
A limited number of patrons will be allowed into the library at a time. The number will be determined by the reduced capacity requirements for each building. Only the first floor will be accessible to the public.
Safety Precautions Include:
Computers will be spaced apart so that social distancing is observed.
Computer sessions will be limited to two hours, and each station will be cleaned on a set schedule throughout the day.
Children/patrons will not be able to wait in the library while someone else uses a computer.
Casual seating, lounging areas, and study tables will not be available.
Meeting rooms and study rooms will not be open.
Cash cannot be accepted for fines or fees.
Programming and events for children, teens, and adults will remain online and in virtual formats.
Donations of books cannot be accepted at this time.
Children under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult at all times.
Patrons will be able to:
Browse first-floor collections
Complete a library-card application in person to apply for or renew a library card or update an address
Pay fines/fees of $5 and up with a credit card (Mastercard/VISA/Discover) at the circulation desk
Make copies, scan, or fax documents
Use a computer and print – by reservation only; 2-hour limit; only one session is allowed per day. Reserve by calling the library or reserving online on the FBCL website; requires a library card (full-service or eCard)
Ask questions at the Reference Desk
Mobile WiFi hotspots and Launchpads are available for check out on a first-come, first-served basis to Fort Bend County residents.
To keep people safe, the library staff will check temperatures upon arrival. Face masks are required and frequent handwashing is encouraged. The staff will also disinfect hard surfaces, and returned materials will be quarantined.
All books and library materials on loan must be returned in the outside drop box.
“FBCL serves a large number of residents throughout the county, so we are being very thoughtful and deliberate with our re-opening plans,” says Russell. “These are friends and neighbors, and we’re going to do everything in our power to expand library services while keeping our staff and communities safe.”
Patrons will continue to have access to the following services at all Fort Bend County Library locations:
Check out books, DVDs, or CDs
Use the online library-card application to apply for or renew a library card or update an address
Use the online library-card application to upgrade an eCard to a full-service library card
Pick up new library cards through the curbside pick-up service after the online library-card application has been processed
Library staff continue to be available virtually by phone, email, or online chat to assist patrons
WiFi can be accessed from the parking lots of the libraries
Mobile WiFi hotspots are available for check out on a first-come, first-served basis to Fort Bend County residents
Utilize the curbside pick-up service
Request Interlibrary loans (ILLs)
Return books, hotspots, and ILLs in the outdoor book drop
Readers can participate in livestreamed book clubs in real time via Zoom/WebEx
Adult computer how-to videos are accessible from the website
“Under our gradual re-opening plan, we have no specific dates set for the beginning of the next phases,” says Russell. “We’re moving toward expanding in-person services in a responsible way that focuses on safety. Decisions about proceeding forward into the next phase will depend on various factors, always with safety for everyone as our main concern.”
The hours for the four Grab-and-Go locations, as well as for the remaining Curbside-Service-only locations, are as follows:
Monday -Thursday: 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Friday: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Saturday: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
At all locations EXCEPT at the Albert George Branch Library (Needville), the Mamie George Branch Library (Stafford), and the Bob Lutts Fulshear/Simonton Branch Library. For these branches, the Saturday hours are 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Sunday: CLOSED (all locations)
For more information, visit the Fort Bend County Libraries website or call the library system’s Communications Office at 281-633-4734.
Currently all Harris County Public Libraries are closed to the public. Curbside pick-up is available at most locations and many are offering virtual experiences.
Visit their website for more information or visit the website of your favorite Harris County library for more information.