April showers bring May flowers, and one of those flowers is the reopening of Dallas' public libraries.
Good news for those missing the quiet escape provided by a place filled with books and public computers that force you to limit your screen time and scrolling addiction: On Tuesday, May 4, 27 of Dallas public libraries’ 30 locations reopened to the public.
It’s a much-needed shift from the curbside pickup that was the only option if you wanted to check out books or DVDs.
The openings come with some restrictions: Capacity is limited to 25 people at a time at all branches except downtown's main library at 1515 Young St.), which is limited to 155 people, though only 25 are allowed on each floor at the same time.
Computers are spaced out, so no more coughs and sneezes from strangers coating you as you write essays or look for work. Reservations can be made up to 24 hours ahead of time for computer use. But beware, it’s only one reservation per person, per day.
Despite more indoor services becoming available, you can’t sit and linger all day. Unless you’re using the computer, seating won’t be available.
Melissa Dease, a communications and youth services administrator at the downtown library, says there are other measures to limit contact between visitors and employees.
“We have acrylic shields at all service desks for the safety of staff and customers,” Dease says. “We are also encouraging people to use our new self-checkout system that is equipped with RFID technology, something we’ve been implementing for the last two years.”
There’s no word on when libraries will be back to full service but there’s still curbside pickup and indoor checkout. All events and activities will be online for a while. Still, library visitors have undoubtedly missed the full in-person experience.
“The overwhelming response has been ‘We missed you,’” Dease says. “Even for customers who have been taking advantage of our curbside service and our virtual programs, nothing replaces the experience of walking the aisles and discovering something new.”
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.