Here’s How And When Phoenix Public Libraries Will Reopen

By Christina Estes
Published: Wednesday, April 7, 2021 - 8:49pm
Updated: Thursday, April 8, 2021 - 11:16am

empty self check out lanes at burton barr library
Phoenix Public Library
The self checkout area at Burton Barr Central Library in Phoenix on April 23, 2020.

Thirteen months after closing public libraries to in-building visits, Phoenix will begin a phased reopening. On Wednesday, the City Council unanimously approved a limited reopening plan for 17 library locations.

Starting Monday, April 19, Burton Barr Central Library and 7 branches will reopen to people with 45-minute appointments who follow safety measures. Visitors can check out materials using self-serve kiosks, use computers and copiers, check out laptops and Wi-Fi hotspots, and browse collections between 12:30 and 5:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

On Monday, May 3, four more locations will reopen to limited in-building visits, and the final group of four libraries will reopen on Monday, May 17.

Capacity will be limited to 25% of permitted occupancy levels. As cases decrease and Phoenix statistics reach a level designated as “moderate spread,” occupancy will be increased to 50%. Operations will continue at 50% until community spread reaches minimal levels.

In-building visits will require appointments, which can be made starting April 16 on the library’s website, or by calling 602-262-4636. Reservations can be made up to three days in advance. Each location will also have a designated number to accommodate drop-in customers. Updates and more details will be added to the library’s website.

A very small step, but a step forward is how Councilman Sal DiCiccio described the plan.

“A big part of going to libraries is browsing books, that’s where you learn, that’s where you learn about different authors,” he said. “Going and having an appointment sounds great for those of us that are well off but for those that would love to be able to just sit in the library and look at it, and look at the different books and look at the different pieces of art because each of those authors have created art, we have really not done a good service for those individuals that would like to be able to do that.”

Councilmember Carlos Garcia said the city should err on the side of caution when reopening and he asked library staff about a temporary policy limiting visitors to one bag.

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

 What I want to make sure that doesn’t happen is that this rule is kind of universally used or impact folks without shelter that might have to have more belongings with them,” he said. “I would just appreciate some discretion and some, I guess, some just try and make sure folks aren’t discriminated on.”

City Librarian Rita Hamilton said, “We can take another look at that, that is for sure. We were just trying to make it easy to clear the building for the cleaning in between so we can test out doing with just one bag for the early stages and if we think we can accommodate other bags coming in as well, we can certainly do that.”

As in-building visits are phased in, curbside service will be available in the mornings.

Here are dates and locations for in-building visits to resume:

Monday, April 19

Curbside service 9:30 a.m. to noon. In-building service by appointment 12:30 to 5:30 p.m.

  • Burton Barr Central Library, 1221 N. Central Ave.
  • Agave Library, 23550 N. 36th Ave.
  • Cesar Chavez Library, 3635 W. Baseline Road.
  • Cholla Library, 10050 Metro Parkway E.
  • Ironwood Library, 4333 E. Chandler Blvd.
  • Mesquite Library, 4525 E. Paradise Village Parkway N.
  • Palo Verde Library, 4402 N. 51st Ave.
  • Desert Broom Library, 29710 N. Cave Creek Road.

Monday, May 3

Curbside service 8 a.m. to noon. In-building service by appointment 12:30 to 5:30 p.m.

  • Desert Sage, 7602 W. Encanto Blvd.
  • Harmon Library, 1325 S. 5th Ave.
  • Juniper Library, 1825 W. Union Hills Drive.
  • Saguaro Library, 2808 N. 46th St.

Monday, May 17

Curbside service 8 a.m. to noon. In-building service by appointment 12:30 to 5:30 p.m.

  • Acacia Library, 750 E. Townley Ave.
  • Yucca Library, 5648 N. 15th Ave.
  • Century Library, 1750 E. Highland Ave.
  • Ocotillo Library, 102 W. Southern Ave.
  • South Mountain Community Library, 7050 S. 24th St., will be added when the South Mountain Community College Campus is open.

Safety measures for in-building visits, include:

  • Temperature check and COVID-19 symptoms check before entering.
  • Face coverings and social distancing.
  • Disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizer and masks available to visitors.
  • Health shields at service desk and computer stations.
  • 25% occupancy and appointments required.
  • Clear building after 45 minutes to clean and prepare for next group.
  • Cleaning and disinfection of common surfaces, restrooms and computer workstations.