Prompted by concerns over the spreading novel coronavirus, public libraries in both the the city and county of Los Angeles were closed Saturday, and expected to remain shut down through the end of the month.
And both libraries said in written statements that due dates would be extended and fines would not be levied during the closure, allowing guests to return materials once the branches reopen.
“We understand the impact closing libraries has on all Angelenos and are taking this action at the direction of city and health authorities and out of an abundance of caution for the health of our patrons and staff,” L.A. City Librarian John F. Szabo said. “During this time we encourage people to access our librarians by telephone or online, and use our extensive digital resources through lapl.org.”
The county library system’s closure affects 86 branches.
“After careful consideration, and discussions with local health authorities, we have decided to close our libraries in an abundance of caution and to help prevent and limit the spread of COVID-19,” according to Library Director Skye Patrick. “We understand the impact this can potentially cause on customers and will continue to monitor the situation closely to provide updates.”
Both libraries’ digital services, including e-books, streaming content, audiobooks, music services, classes and more, will remain available online, officials said.
Personnel were also expected to remain on-hand to field questions by phone.