Some Popular Pandemic Changes Likely To Stay After Phoenix Public Libraries Reopen

By Scott Bourque
Published: Saturday, October 10, 2020 - 2:42pm
Updated: Saturday, October 10, 2020 - 2:43pm

burton barr library
Christina Estes/KJZZ
Burton Barr Central Library in Phoenix.

Earlier this week, the Phoenix City Council unanimously voted to open city parks and recreation facilities, including playgrounds and sports facilities. 

The Phoenix Public Libraries will continue to be closed for the foreseeable future— but library spokesperson Lee Franklin says the department is planning for what a post-COVID-19 future might look like.

"How do we normally do things, and what did we normally provide in our normal time pre-coronavirus ... and how do we replicate that?" Franklin said. "Is that something we can do the way we did before, or do we need to reframe it and offer it in a different way."

At the Burton Barr Central Library in downtown Phoenix, the College Depot traditionally offers college prep services for teens. Since March, it’s offered its services online. Since then, Franklin says it’s gotten even more popular. 

As the libraries prepare for their eventual reopening, Franklin says a lot of the changes they’ve made for the pandemic will likely stay — just because people like them.

“The convenience factor, being able to offer that to customers by phone or over the computer or in a virtual platform means that maybe people who weren’t able to travel to Burton Barr in person are now able to access that expertise,” Franklin said.

Services like curbside pickup, expanded online classes, and public Wi-Fi are popular with customers, Franklin says. She said she sees no reason that a post-COVID library would ever get rid of them.

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