Library services are now available seven days a week, with curbside pickup and librarian help available the same hours each day. Pick up materials you've reserved or talk/chat with an information professional:
Monday–Thursday 9 AM–7 PM
Friday & Saturday 9 AM–5 PM
Sunday 10 AM–5 PM
Though the building remains closed in the interest of community health, library staff are working daily to safely deliver contact-free services to all district residents.
If you don't have a library card yet, get one here.
If you can't get to the library, request home delivery here.
We look forward to serving you!
Like most things, from private homes to public spaces, Vernon Area Library looks much different now than it did before the pandemic. Closed to the public since March 13, the building’s inside spaces have been changed to comply with COVID-19 guidelines from the Illinois Department of Public Health and other authorities. With patrons now picking up library materials curbside, few people other than library employees have seen the extensive changes that have taken place since spring to protect the health and well-being of staff and the community.
The changes that library employees see each day include one-way aisles through shelving, reconfigured workspaces and protective dividers between desks. When the building was renovated in 2013, only the public spaces were updated. The workrooms remain as they were when the library was built in 1994, which means that pre-pandemic, the staff worked in close quarters. To comply with 2020’s social distancing requirements, some workstations have been moved to public spaces.
Additionally, all staff must follow a strict new entry process when they arrive for work. They may only enter on their schedule, must wash their hands after clocking in and put on the PPE (personal protective equipment) needed for their particular job. The staff break room is off-limits to minimize group gatherings. In-person work shifts have been shortened to minimize each employee’s exposure risk and to avoid the need for a meal break without a break room. (Work schedules for staff working remotely remain unchanged.)
The public meeting room, previously the site of most library programs, is now being used as a staging area for quarantining returned books and other materials. A study conducted by the global library cooperative OCLC, the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the research firm Battelle found that the coronavirus may persist on library materials for five days or more. This library quarantines returned materials for seven days before checking them in — a move that improves safety for both library employees and the public.
Additionally, the library exposes returned materials to a blast of ultraviolet light for 60 minutes before they are checked in. Multiple studies have shown that UV light kills the coronavirus, providing employees with further assurance that the books, DVDs and magazines they handle are safe to touch.
Other changes are visible only to library maintenance staff. These include improvements to the heating and cooling system that allow it to take in up to 400% more fresh air than previously, installing ultraviolet sanitizers in air ducts and outfitting the heating and cooling system with highly effective air filters — MERV-13, which catch a variety of irritants like pollen and dust mites, but also trap virus carriers.
Vernon Area Library is a beloved destination for all members of the community. It is for this reason that the building remains closed to best prevent transmission of disease. “We do what we do because we love serving the public,” said library Director Cynthia Fuerst. “And we look forward to seeing patrons again. Right now, we’re working hard to provide every service that can be provided safely. With the daily case rate in the Chicago suburbs rising, we’re confident that keeping the building closed is the right thing to do.”
It was a memorable ten weeks of reading, offline adventures, and online diversions and events...all part of the library’s first-ever at-home reading program, Summer Camp 2020.
That means you beat the community reading goal (500,000 minutes) and our Read for Good sponsors are donating a total of $2,100 to these nonprofit organizations at work for the good of our communities: Lake County Covid Relief Fund, Stevenson: One Family, and Vernon Township Food Pantry.
Many thanks to our Read for Good sponsors for your generous support:
Buffalo Grove Bank & Trust ∙ Parent of three Stevenson alumni · Lincolnshire Rotary · Rivkin & Rivkin, LLC · In memory of Ralph Jensen · State Farm Buffalo Grove - Nick Wians · Populus XP, LLC · Marc & Michele Fenton · George Goldstein · Victoria Thompson · Cynthia Fuerst
We do what we do because we love working with you, and we can’t wait to see you again. Unfortunately, that time is not soon. On the evening of Monday, July 20 — at the same time that Stevenson High School leaders were announcing their decision to provide remote-only instruction this fall to help keep the community safe — the Vernon Area Public Library board affirmed the management's recommendation that the library building remain closed. The building closure will continue until public interaction no longer poses a danger to the health of our community.
In the meantime, library staff continue to provide services through safe, contact-free methods including curbside delivery of materials you’ve placed on hold, chat and phone assistance, online programs, and e-books and other digital resources. We are expanding these services all the time.
Curbside hours are now 9 AM–7 PM Monday–Thursday and 9 AM–4 PM Friday and Saturday. The order limit has been increased to 10 items per library card. Museum passes and 3D printing are now available through online request and curbside pickup. Remote printing and Book Bundles, themed stacks of books for checkout, are coming soon.
The decision to keep the building closed was based on reasons both philosophical and practical. At its core is the conviction that the library should use every opportunity to support public health and avoid contributing to community transmission of the coronavirus.
Practically, for this building, we must make a choice between providing curbside service or allowing public access. We cannot do both. The logistics of curbside service, with recommended distancing for employees, spill work spaces out of back rooms and into the main library space. All cardholders have equal access to library materials through curbside pickup. That would not be true if we switched to an open building.
The situation is evolving. Understanding of the virus and how it is transmitted is developing all the time. So far nothing has been revealed to suggest that more public interaction is a good idea. But if that changes, library leadership will revisit this decision. Until then, we are focusing resources on safe ways to provide library services to all residents of the district. If you’re a resident and don’t have a card already, get one here.
There’s a lot in the works. So, check back often. Or get updates in your inbox by signing up for occasional emails from the library.
Libraries are for everyone. It’s more than just a slogan. It’s the foundation of what we believe.
It is clear now more than ever that being “for everyone” comes with a responsibility to stand up against racism. Which is why we must speak up now.
Our Black and Brown neighbors are hurting and have been for far too long. We see that pain. And we see that we have room to do better for our own employees and for our community.
It is not enough for us to just continue to avoid blatantly racist actions. We must be actively anti-racist. As a public institution, it is our responsibility to closely examine our policies and practices to make sure they serve all of our public equitably.
Today, we pledge as an organization to prioritize equity, diversity, and inclusion in everything we do. And not with vague platitudes. With concrete, measurable actions.
By the July 20 board meeting, we will present a plan on how we intend to move toward more just and equitable practices in hiring, employee development, collections management, cataloging and programming. How we intend to center our practices on those institutional values.
We will not have all the answers in six weeks. But we will show our work. And you can hold us accountable for making progress.
This problem is unquestionably bigger than us, but we are committed to making sure we are addressing our part. We can do better. We will do better.
The best time to start was before now. The second best time to start is right now. And so we will.