Arapahoe Libraries expand hours as pandemic restrictions wind down

Castlewood Library to hold virtual tour of renovations March 11

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After reopening for in-person services by appointment briefly in the fall — then having to close again in November due to the state's “COVID-19 dial” restrictions tightening in Arapahoe County — the Arapahoe Libraries district is open again and expanding its hours.

Near the start of the pandemic's recorded spread in Colorado, all Arapahoe Libraries locations closed last March as coronavirus precautions began to take hold across Colorado.

Arapahoe Libraries reopened for in-person, “library by appointment” services shortly last fall before an uptick in COVID-19 cases in the area, according to Michelle Cingrani, the district's spokeswoman. After the closure, patrons still had access to the district's “Park and Pickup” service as well as home and mail delivery for holds. On Jan. 19, libraries reopened for in-person services with cleaning breaks every 90 minutes.  

During those closures for cleaning, patrons needed to vacate the library buildings, but starting Feb. 22, those intermittent closures were eliminated, Cingrani said.

Now, libraries in the district are open continuously from noon to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, except for Kelver and Davies libraries, which are open from 10 a.m. to 5:30 pm. Staff will continue to clean high-touch services throughout the day without closing. “High-touch surfaces” is a term for things people touch often, such as rails or tables.

“In addition to the elimination of the cleaning breaks … we hope to expand library hours later this spring,” Cingrani said.

Arapahoe Libraries serves municipalities such as Centennial, Bow Mar, Cherry Hills Village, Glendale, Greenwood Village and Sheridan, along with unincorporated areas of Arapahoe County and the rural areas of Byers and Deer Trail. A link to the district map is located under “our history” at arapahoelibraries.org/who-we-are.

Here are some other updates about Arapahoe Libraries services.

Castlewood tour

Castlewood Library at Arapahoe Road and South Uinta Street — just west of Interstate 25 — closed in September 2019 for a remodel and was initially set to reopen in spring 2020.

The remodel was planned to feature an updated space with natural light, increased accessibility to library materials, an enclosed children's area, a larger “makerspace,” a lounge area with coffee vending, improved traffic flow in the parking lot and a driver-side book drop.

Makerspaces are “workshops dedicated to hands-on learning and creating for all ages” with “a wide variety of cutting-edge and traditional equipment and tools, as well as classes and programs for guided exploration,” according to the district's website.

Castlewood reopened when the district's libraries reopened briefly last fall and is now open for in-person services again, Cingrani said.

An official “unveiling and virtual tour” of the renovations and updates at Castlewood Library will take place 6 p.m. March 11 via the Zoom videoconferencing platform. See the Arapahoe Libraries website for more information.

New self-service lockers

The district will offer a new way to pick up holds via self-service lockers that will be installed at libraries later this spring or early summer, Cingrani said.

The self-service holds lockers will be available for patrons to access 24/7 — even outside of library hours — and are completely new to Arapahoe Libraries.

Recording studios, 'makerspaces' still closed

Outside of pandemic restrictions, the district usually offers the use of musical instruments and other equipment from the libraries' audio-recording studios.

Studios, makerspaces and equipment are not yet available for patron use, Cingrani said.

“However, the next phases of reopening should include updates about these services in the coming months,” she added.

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