Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - Add the Rochester Public Library to the list of organizations affected by COVID-19. The library has announced it plans to close Wednesday and remain shut down until further notice.

“The library is one of the City’s most-used community gathering spaces,” says City Administrator, Steve Rymer. “Without closing the library, teammates are unable to guarantee enough social distancing to help prevent the potential spread of the COVID-19.”

RPL will follow the closing schedule of Rochester Public Schools and begin planning for ways to continue to offer services to the community. At the end of last week, library programs and Bookmobile service were suspended and staff made the decision to extend due dates on all library materials.

“We want people to have the flexibility to keep their items,” says Karen Lemke, Head of Marketing and Community Engagement at RPL. Materials currently checked out are not due until April 30, 2020 at the earliest.

Meanwhile, resources have been added to the library’s digital collection, which is available 24/7. Library staff is also looking at unique ways to provide service, including keeping staff on hand to provide online and phone information services. A variety of resources are available at www.rplmn.org.

“The library’s virtual information desk will stay open as much as possible so we can provide service to the community,” says Lemke. Library staff will be available via online chat, by text at 507-722-1581, or by phone at 507-328-2300.

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