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Bucks County Free Library outlines three phases of reopening plan

Bucks County has been designated by Gov. Wolf as being in the COVID-19 Yellow Phase beginning June 5. Bucks County Free Library branches and district member libraries are getting ready to open.

Bucks County Free Library (BCFL) will continue offering all the remote services that have been available since we closed on March 14. While it sets out an approximate timeline for restoration of other services, be aware that the timeline may change because the situation remains fluid.

As directed by the Pennsylvania Office of Commonwealth Libraries, BCFL has adopted phased-in reopening plans so it can community members safely. Libraries will be following all requirements set out by the commonwealth in its business orders for operational and building safety as we re-open.

Because of differing needs for preparation, not all libraries will be able to restore services on the same dates. This plan gives date ranges to account for unknowns, such as backorders for disinfectants or other safety supplies and equipment.

Check your library’s website or call to find out more detailed information. Contact information for all Bucks County libraries is at BCFL’s Library Service Restoration Plan can be seen at

The three phases of reopening are:

– In the first phase, which begins June 8, staff will return to buildings. For about two weeks they will handle backlogs of materials and reconfigure buildings to support social distancing.

– In the second phase, toward the end of June, most libraries will offer curbside pickup.

– In the third phase, about mid-July, BCFL will open buildings to the public.

During the first phase, beginning Monday, June 8, library users can return items to book drops.

There are more than 165,000 items in people’s homes across the county. Because of the volume, people are asked to try to use a “birthday rule” in the next few weeks when bringing things back. If your birthday is on an even numbered date, please try to return items on an even date. If it’s on an odd date, please try to return materials on an odd date. This will help BCFL control the flow of materials so it doesn’t have to shut down book drops that become over-filled and unusable.

All returned items will be quarantined for 72 hours before they can be processed. It may take several days for returned items to be cleared from accounts. No late fees will be charged during this time.

No libraries are accepting book donations. Do not bring any donated items to the library.

During phase two, beginning between June 18 to 25, most libraries in Bucks County will be offering curbside services.

Community members will be able to request items for pickup by placing a hold in the catalog or calling the library.

BCFL will let people know by e-mail or phone when their order is ready. They may then set up an appointment for pickup. When people come to pick up their materials, they must wear a mask and practice social distancing. Signs will direct them to the pickup point. Depending on the library, people will either text or phone and someone will bring their items to them. Materials will already be checked out and community members will be given a receipt.

During this phase, Bucks County Free Library is not accepting returned materials at curbside because they must be quarantined. If community members need to return materials they are asked to put them in the book drop or other receptacle. Payments are also not being accepted at curbside.

Summer Quest kicks off on Saturday, June 20, as an online program with reading challenges, limited-edition badges, and live streaming performances. Visit for details.

During phase three, set to begin between July 6 to 13, Bucks County library buildings are planning on opening to the public. Collections will be available for browsing and checkouts. Computers and seating areas will be available.

Staff will be wearing masks and practicing as well as enforcing social distancing. Signs near service desks and checkouts will be in place to indicate where to line up or wait for help.

Library users will be required to wear masks and practice social distancing while in the library.

Per Pennsylvania’s business orders, number of people in the library will be limited to no more than 50% capacity.

Depending on how busy the library is, community members may need to wait to enter until others leave. The busiest libraries will enforce per-person time limits for computer use and length of time inside the library.

In all cases, libraries will be following all requirements set out by the commonwealth in its business orders for operational and building safety.

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