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San Jose Reopens Some of Its Libraries After A 14-Month Hiatus

Seven branches of the San Jose Public Library system reopened on Monday for limited indoor services after a 14-month hiatus. Residents will be able to reenter those locations to browse library shelves, check out books and tech devices, access public computers and printers and chat with staff to answer reference questions.

The branches that welcomed back patrons today include Alum Rock, Biblioteca Latinoamericana, Joyce Ellington, Tully Community, Alviso, Evergreen, and West Valley branch libraries.

“This is the first time people will finally have access to our library buildings. They could walk to the buildings. They could go to any bookshelf, browse the collection, and check out materials,” said Elizabeth Castañeda, spokesperson for the San Jose Public Library.

Those seven branches will reopen at 50% capacity and will be open 1-6 p.m. Monday to Friday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday. Patrons are allowed to browse the collections but can only stay in the library for an hour each day.

No lounging is allowed but library computers have been made available to patrons for 45-minute sessions. Other tech services like free Wi-Fi and library printers are available once again. The restrooms of seven libraries will also reopen.

“That’s one of the things people will really be able to enjoy when they walk back into our buildings,” Castañeda said. “They might not have access to [these services] in their homes.”

She said the first goal is to reopen all branches but hopes that the various in-person social services SJPL offered before the pandemic, like career counseling and adult literacy workshops, will eventually return.

The Oakland Public Library system had previously reopened its doors for select browsing services on April 16 and the Main Branch of the San Francisco Public Library followed on May 3. More information on the reopening plan of SJPL can be found here.

— Bay City News and Carlos Cabrera-Lomelí

Copyright 2021 KQED