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When we opened the library building June 1, there were just a handful of COVID-19 cases in Dunn County. New case numbers were also very low, and on many days there were none. Under those circumstances it was safe to reopen the library. It was great to be open even with restrictions after being closed for over two months. A lot of our services, like computer access and copier service aren’t available when the building is closed. Just being able to come into the building and browse the collection, mingle a little, or sit and read newspapers was missed by many of our regulars.

It hurt to have to reclose the building this week after being open for more than three months. Of course we are following the current trends in new COVID-19 cases in Dunn County and we knew they were starting to increase but in recent weeks that increase has become dramatic. So dramatic in fact that we were being encouraged to close by the Dunn County Health Department. Library visitors are a cross-section of the community and many of them come from vulnerable populations that could easily become very ill or infect others if they caught COVID-19 and we don’t want to contribute to that.

We had just started to open Saturdays to support students who might need us for their studies when it became plain that the right course of action was to scrap those plans and pivot back to curbside pickup only which we had done for a short period in May. Can I say “back to the future?” So here we are at the beginning of October back to where we were in May but we knew the pandemic would likely come in waves so we shouldn’t be surprised.

Now we need to get the spread of COVID-19 in Dunn County back to the low level it was in June so we can safely reopen again. We can do it. Wear a mask, keep a safe social distance, and wash your hands.