CHINO, Calif. — Libraries in San Bernardino County, including four located on school campuses, have reopened to the public but with major changes to ensure safety.

Most libraries are operating with limited hours Tuesday through Thursday and Saturdays. 

The library in Chino is not far from the senior apartments where Joy Boese, 75, lives. Until COVID-19 shut the library down in March, she’d visit every day.

“I’ve known all the librarians for 17 years,” Boese said.

The staff is like a second family, and the facility with computers, air conditioning, and collection of books is like a second home that Boese relies on for her basic needs.

“The hardest part about not having the library was no internet,” Boese said.

Now Boese is limited to an hour a day since the library reopened, but she’s glad to have it.

“I am very happy,” Boese stated.

“For us, it was very important to get them open again,” said Michael Jimenez, a San Bernardino County librarian. He knows people like Boese rely on their local library, especially during difficult economic times.

“It’s a place that folks can go to get the resources that they need, whether they have the money to do it or not,” Jimenez said. “We have put a lot of thought and effort into ensuring that we have the safest environment possible.”

There are temperature checks at the front door, all of the furniture and computers have been rearranged to allow for social distancing, a monitor disinfects an area after it has been used, books can be checked out from a smartphone, and returned books are quarantined for four days.

In a typical year, more than a million people visit the libraries in San Bernardino County, the largest county in the nation.

While the libraries in San Bernardino County were closed, all employees kept their jobs working at COVID-19 testing sites and as contact tracers. 

Visit the San Bernardino County library website to check if your local library is open.