Concerns over COVID-19 have led area libraries to close their doors to the public. Many libraries are looking into ways to continue offering services to the community.


Waukee Library


The Waukee Public Library has officially closed its doors until further notice. This comes after the confirmed community spread of COVID-19, along with a positive case in Dallas County on Saturday, March 14. Additional cases have since been reported in the county. The library currently sees around 600 patrons per day and has well attended programs, making the risk to the community too great to remain open.


“The library board and I felt closing the library was in the best interest of our community at this time,” Waukee Public Library Director Kristine Larson said. “Libraries are always an important part of the community, now more than ever. We always try to stay open during any crisis, so it was agonizing for us to have to close during this crisis.”


The Waukee Public Library is now focused on offering online resources that can help patrons enjoy their time at home. This includes ebooks, e-audiobooks and e-magazines. In addition, the library currently offers various resources that allow patrons to learn new languages, research their family tree, and learn business and career skills.


Students of the Waukee Community School District can also access all of the library’s online resources with their student ID number, regardless of whether or not they currently have a library card.


“Kids would enjoy our Tumblebooks resource for online ebooks, audiobooks, and even videos. We also have the World Book online so kids can learn even while home for the next several weeks,” Larson said.


The library also posted on its Facebook page that it will be offering an online storytime every Wednesday with a book reading, songs and an activity to enjoy at home, waukeepubliclibrary.org/storytime-online.


While closed, the library will not be charging late fees and have already renewed cards that were expired. For questions regarding their account or checked out items, patrons can contact the library directly at 515-978-7944 or visit the library’s website or Facebook Page.


Dallas Center Library


The Roy R. Estle Memorial Library closed its doors effective at 12 p.m. on Monday, March 16 until further notice. Prior to closing, the library had discontinued public computer access and pulled all puzzles and children’s toys in order to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.


Although the building, itself, will remain closed, patrons can continue to request materials through the library’s temporary “Curb Side Service” from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturday, March 21 and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, March 24.


Patrons call the library (515-992-3185) or send an email (webmaster@dallascenter.lib.ia.us) to request materials. Staff members will pull the items, check them out and run them out to the patron’s car when they arrive at the library.


The library also currently offers access to the online resource, Bridges, for downloadable print and audio books.


“I feel that libraries are important for community members to access books, movies and magazines during this time when many people are confined to their homes,” Roy R. Estle Memorial Library Director Shelly Cory said, “However, increased traffic to our buildings is also a concern.”


Together, the library administration, Dallas Center officials and the Library Board of Trustees continue to monitor the situation and will work to determine when it would be best to reopen the Roy R. Estle Memorial Library to normal operating hours.


“The health and safety of our employees and the community remain our number one priority. Thank you for your patience and understanding, and please continue to be safe,” Cory said in an announcement provided by the Roy R. Estle Memorial Library.


Grimes Library


The Grimes Public Library has closed its doors to the public until further notice. This decision comes as a result of the City of Grimes closing all public facilities in the interest of public safety.


In a press release issued by the library, Grimes Public Library Director Cheryl Heid said, “This was a very difficult decision that was made after careful deliberation. At this time of year, we average 8,000 to 10,000 visits per month. We believe we have a responsibility to staff and patrons to close since all indications indicate that early social distancing can stop this virus from spreading.”


Instead, the library is currently encouraging patrons to utilize the online tools and resources available throughout their website. These include eBooks, eAudiobooks, streaming videos, digital learning tools and more. The library also offered a “takeout service” early in the week where patrons could call the Grimes Public Library and a staff member brought checked out items to their car.


“We are doing it for only two days this week, but looking at the possibility for extending that and offering that at a larger rate next week,” Heid said. “It is such a fluid situation right now. However, our goal would be to offer that several times next week as well.”


The Grimes Public Library is also working with Grand Consulting in order to install a Wi-Fi extender. This would allow the public to access the library’s Wi-Fi network from the parking lot, where they could use the service from the safety of their vehicles.


“With colleges and schools closing, we felt we had to do something to help the public. Since our building is closed, these were two of the ways we can assist right now,” Heid said.


Those interested in learning more about updates concerning the Grimes Public Library can visit their website or Facebook page.


Van Meter Library


The Van Meter Public Library has closed its doors indefinitely effective at 4 p.m. on March 16.


The library is currently extending due dates for all items to no less than one week after its reopening. In addition, staff also asks those with checked out items to not return them in the outdoor book return.


“Libraries are a trusted source of information, and if a library is open, that sends a message to the community that it is safe to be out in public, something that state and federal authorities have made clear is not the case,” Van Meter Public Library Director Kathleen Nubel said.


Even though the library, itself, is now closed, patrons will still have access to digital content through the library system, Bridges. They can also access study guides, practice tests, career assistance and resources for veterans through the program, Brainfuse, with various languages available through Transparent Language and additional resources available through the Gale Database.


“We will continue to highlight resources that patrons and families can use from home to help them stay safe and entertained while practicing social distancing,” Nubel said. “Staff will not be present in the library, [and] residents are asked to keep items until the library reopens.”


The library plans to closely monitor the situation in hopes of reopening as soon as it is safe to do so. Because the phones and voicemail will not be answered, residents are encouraged to reach out to the Van Meter Public Library through the City of Van Meter Facebook page or by emailing library@vanmeteria.gov.


Minburn Library


The Minburn Public Library officially closed its doors on March 16 until further notice.


Before closing on Monday, the library had provided hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes to visiting patrons. They had also removed all puzzles, games and toys as well as suspended computer usage to try and prevent the spread of COVID-19.


Although the building has now closed, patrons of the library can still access online resources such as checking out books by using overdrive.com or by downloading the app. They can also contact Nicole at 515-677-2712 or library@minburnlibrary.com for items to be delivered or picked up from the Minburn Public Library.


De Soto Library


The De Soto Public Library announced it will be closed from Tuesday, Match 17 through Sunday, March 29 in order to help ensure the safety of the community, staff and library patrons. As a result, the library has suspended all fines and due dates and has said that all items will automatically be renewed. The library is also requesting that for the time being patrons hold on to any checked out materials they may currently have.


Prior to its closing, the library had already removed shared toys, shut down the public computers, and worked to sanitize all returned items as patrons stocked up on books and movies in preparation for social distancing.


Now that the library has closed, patrons can still access a variety of online resources such as Bridges, Transparent Language, and other online databases. They can also reach out to the De Soto Public Library through their Facebook page for any library related updates or questions.


Adel Public Library


The Adel Public Library announced on its Facebook page that it will be closed indefinitely.


“Based on the latest information and updates from state and local officials about the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus), we have made the decision that closing our library is in the best interest of public safety at this time,” the library posted. “All library events and programs are cancelled during this time, and the community room, conference rooms, and study rooms are also unavailable.”


Library administration will work with Adel officials and the Library Board of Trustees to reassess the situation and determine when it is best to reopen.


The library is encouraging its patrons to use its website, adelpl.org and the tools and resources available there, including eBooks and eAudiobooks, digital learning tools and more.


“This is a changing, fluid situation, and we will continue to share the latest Adel Public Library updates on adelpl.org and Facebook page. Thank you for your patience and understanding, and please continue to be safe,” the library said.