Charlotte Mecklenburg Library recently opened its branches with expanded operating hours to more customers.
Joe Helweg, who chairs the system’s board of trustees, told Mecklenburg County commissioners Oct. 6 that staff is using creative measures to make the best experience for people to be in the library safely.
“The glass half empty is you really can’t hang out in the library,” Helweg said. “We love that aspect, whether it’s in the teen rooms or on the computers.”
Seating and full computer access won’t be available until the next phase of reopening. A fourth phase will restore full services with social distancing and other safety measures.
Post-COVID, Helweg sees library usage in the 21st century evolving beyond checking out books.
“We want it to be a really interactive experience,” he said, “the third place that is not a Starbucks or a business but it’s a place people can gather, share ideas and grow.”
Commissioner Susan Harden, who represents the south Charlotte area, said she received many letters from constituents who were thrilled about getting back into the library.
Construction is progressing at South County Regional Library. Officials expect employees to return in December. A soft opening will begin in January with a grand reopening scheduled for February.
Architects are working on drawings for a new main branch with projected completion by mid-2024. Future construction involving Pineville and University City branches are scheduled for 2022.
The library system is also searching for a new CEO to start work by March 2021.