Point Loma/Hervey Library joined 11 others citywide in partially reopening at 25% capacity on Oct. 3.
But Christine Gonzalez, branch manager of the library at 3701 Voltaire St., cautioned patrons to expect a few changes, including the children’s area on the lower level remaining closed for now.
“We basically wiped every single book in this library,” said Gonzalez of the long pandemic closure since mid-March. “Our priority, first and foremost, is the safety of the public and our staff. We are following all the state and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention protocols.”
“With education going online, it’s very important for people to come in and use the library’s computers and printers,” added Gonzalez while pointing out many library users, like those from nearby Point Loma youth hostel at 3790 Udall St., depend on the library for their communication and printing needs. Gonzalez added the branch library’s extensive collection is “still available,” but with this proviso.
“Someone coming in and wanting a particular book, we have our staff members called runners go into the stack and pull those off the shelves for that person,” the branch manager said.
Regarding the library’s now-closed lower level, Gonzalez said, “Since children aren’t able to go downstairs and browse, our staff members are going to be putting children’s materials into bundles, like a bundle of picture books, or books about dogs, and make those available for check out.”
One of the largest libraries in the City, the Point Loma/Hervey Library offers many unique features and several conference rooms, a computer lab, and media room. Fitting with Point Loma's history as a fishing village, the library incorporates themes of marine life and nautical history throughout the two-story building.
In the Children's Area on the first floor, a sailboat serves as a small reading room complete with portholes, a mast, and sails. Another attraction is a functioning submarine periscope that gives visitors on the first floor a birds-eye view from the roof. The library also houses a Veterans Resource Center staffed with volunteers available by appointment.
There are other new developments at Point Loma/Hervey branch, such as 25% limited indoor capacity allowed, which translates into only 15 persons at a time allowed inside the open upper level.
“We do have a waiting room right outside the south entrance with two canopies we’ve put up,” Gonzalez said. “If people just come in to pick up holds or want to use the computer and the area is full, then we’ll ask them to wait under the canopies.”
Point Loma branch has also enhanced its public outreach.
“Our staffers now serve as greeters in our lobby and are our ambassadors, letting people know what limited services are available, and answering any questions,” said Gonzalez. “They’ll also be doing temperature checks of patrons and making sure they’re masked before allowing them in.”
How did Point Loma branch library stay busy during the months-long pandemic pause?
“We’ve been doing a lot of virtual programming, working on our Facebook page, actively cleaning and weeding out our collection, making sure everything was in good condition, and that our materials weren’t out of date,” said Gonzalez. “We also did some facility improvements, replacing the front carpet and doing a complete lighting retrofit. Every light in the building is now (energy efficient) LED.
Added Gonzalez, “We’ve also been attending virtual meetings, staying involved with our community and making sure that, whatever the next (phased re-opening) step is, that it (operations) are going to be well thought out and that we’ll have everything that is needed.”