Gwinnett Library reopening branches, requiring masks

Gwinnett libraries are reopening branches to customers. GWINNETT COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY / AJC FILE PHOTO
Gwinnett libraries are reopening branches to customers. GWINNETT COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY / AJC FILE PHOTO

The Gwinnett County Public Library is reopening branches to guests and adding a mask requirement.

The library system first closed branches in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, and instituted a curbside pick-up program in May. Branches first reopened to guests in June, but the library decided to return to a curbside-only system in late July.

That rollback of the library reopening plan was driven by an increasing number of customers without masks. At the time, masks were not required, but “strongly encouraged.” The library’s Duluth branch closed in mid-July after a staff member tested positive for COVID-19, and the library system said that lax mask use was “exacerbating the potential for germ spread.”

The branches will have shorter hours than they did pre-pandemic: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. Curbside pickup will remain available during the same hours. Masks are required to enter any library branch.

Meeting rooms, quiet rooms and learning labs will remain closed at all branches and some furniture and devices will not be available in order to enforce social distancing. The Open Access program, in which members can use a key card to access the Lawrenceville and Suwanee branches outside normal operating hours, will not be available.

Many of the library’s online resources, including audiobooks and free online courses, have remained available through its closure and phased reopening. Those resources are available at gwinnettpl.org, as is the curbside pick-up system.