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Oshkosh Public Library set to reopen, eliminates late fees

More money for Wisconsin rural schools gets committee OK
Posted at 3:10 PM, Jul 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-31 16:10:46-04

OSHKOSH (NBC 26) ⁠— Oshkosh Public Library announced they are set to begin reopening and plan to eliminate previous late fees on materials.

Library staff said under the guidance from local public health data and following CDC guidelines, the library will begin offering services on an appointment only basis.

Starting Monday, August 3, people can call the library at (920) 236-5205 to reserve a computer time slot to use during regular business hours. Access into the building will be limited to 10 people, including the library staff.

Additional library services by appointment include free printing, faxing, photocopying, notary service and battery device charging. Staff said public WiFi and wireless printing can be accessed from the parking lot.

“Access to computers and the internet is crucial to our friends and neighbors who are working to recover from the substantial economic impact of COVID-19,“ said Jeff Gilderson-Duwe, library director. “We will be giving priority to those who are searching for employment, filling out applications for assistance, seeking business grants and loans, or any other activity that supports a return to some sense of normalcy.”

According to the director, on weekdays the first two hours of the day are reserved for senior citizens and those who are especially vulnerable to infection. During this time, eight people in total will be allowed in the area.

Following each use, library staff said computer stations will be sanitized. Guests are required to wear a mask and are asked to use available hand sanitizer both before and after their visit.

Guests should not visit the library if they are experiencing a fever, cough, shortness of breath, loss of smell or taste, or any other flu-like symptoms consistents with COVID-19. Library staff said appointments will be rescheduled.

While browsing for materials is not allowed inside the library, staff said Curbside Pickup services are still available to receive library materials. They note that all items must be returned to the outdoor book drops on Mount Vernon Street. Returned items will then be quarantined for at least 96 hours before being made available again for checkout.

The Oshkosh Public Library Board of Trustees voted Thursday to approve a measure that will discontinue the collection of most fines and remove past fines from guest's library cards starting in early August.

By eliminating most fines on a permanent basis, the library is welcoming back thousands of cardholders who are unable to check out materials because of outstanding overdue fines. The Board said this action makes library resources more accessible to the wider community, regardless of their economic circumstances.

“It removes a significant barrier to library use during especially difficult times,” said Board of Trustees President Christine Melms-Simon. “And it creates a more inclusive library that is better positioned to serve the entire Oshkosh community.”

The Board explained that there are some exceptions to the fine free policy. People will still be required to pay for or replace lost items.

“In a time of uncertainty, this is good news for our community,” said Gilderson-Duwe. “We look forward to welcoming back our patrons and materials.”

For more information you can contact the library by calling (920) 236-5205 or texting (920) 315-8838. You can also use their virtual chat service on the Oshkosh Public Library's website.