BERKELEY (CBS SF) – The five locations of the Berkeley Public Library remain closed for the time being, but the book drops have reopened for patrons to return books and media items.

“All returns will be quarantined for at least 72 hours, as is recommended by conservation experts,” the library said in an announcement. “As soon as staff can check-in the items following the 72 hour quarantine, your account will be updated.”

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Due dates on borrowed material has been extended to July 1. The system doesn’t charge overdue fees on most items.

Items borrowed from the Tool Lending Library should not be returned at any of the book drops because it creates safety issues and can damage the library’s sorting equipment.

The library closed all book drops on March 16 to reduce travel and contact between staff and the public during the novel coronavirus health emergency.

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Use of the library’s online services has doubled since the shelter order closed branches.

The library said reopening the book drops is the first step in its phased plan for reopening branches to the public, with curbside pick-up of holds to follow in coming weeks.

“To do so, the library must ensure we have enough staff and equipment on hand to support library services with new COVID-19-specific safety procedures,” library officials said.

“Many library staff have been serving the community as disaster service workers during COVID-19 and we must work closely with the other city departments to ensure smooth transitions back to library duties when possible.”

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