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A question many people are asking: When will public libraries reopen?

Sadly, the big answer is: Some time before the end of the year, and even then not all of them.

That’s as much as we know at this point and it all depends on the COVID-19 virus and how well we can beat it into submission.

Recently, the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners resolved to open the following libraries before Dec. 31: Arvonne Fraser; Augsburg Park; Brookdale; Edina; Excelsior; Franklin; Hopkins; Nokomis; Northeast; North Regional; Oxboro; Penn Lake; Rockford Road; Rogers; St. Louis Park; Sumner; Walker; Champlin; Maple Plain; Minneapolis Central; St. Anthony; Southdale; Wayzata, and Westonka.

The board also decided that the following libraries will remain closed until next year: East Lake; Golden Valley; Linden Hills; Long Lake; Minnetonka; Osseo; Pierre Bottineau; Roosevelt and St. Bonifacius.

So you can’t browse the stacks, but you can still take advantage of all kinds of library services. In St. Paul, three libraries are open for patrons to use the computers by appointment. Hennepin County will be phasing in this service over time.

Touchless curbside pickup is available at select libraries in Hennepin and Ramsey counties as well as at St. Paul public libraries. Visit the library websites or give them a call to place an order for a book, DVD or other library material.

In St. Paul, the book will be sent to the nearest library offering curbside pickup. In Ramsey County libraries, curbside pickup is available in Maplewood, Shoreview and Roseville seven days a week and at the other libraries on select days. In Hennepin County, the requests are limited to the items on the shelves at the 16 libraries offering curbside.

While you can return library materials at select locations (where they will be quarantined until considered safe), due dates are being extended and no materials are required to be returned at this time.

There are plenty of online activities and events going on all summer, including writer Larry Watson appearing at a virtual Talk of the Stacks performance at 7 p.m. July 23, as well as book clubs, events for children and teens, storytimes, music livestreams, ancestry searches and other events.

The website for Hennepin County libraries is https://www.hclib.org/; Ramsey County libraries is https://www.rclreads.org/; and St. Paul Public Libraries is https://sppl.org.

Laurie Hertzel • 612-673-7302

@StribBooks