Brillion Public Library still closed for meetings, programming

Dec. 10, 2020


By David Nordby

The Brillion News


Still offering curbside pickup


BRILLION – The Brillion Public Library remains closed to in-person book pickups, group meetings and special programming because of the number of COVID-19 cases in our area.


“This is true of libraries throughout the state,” Brillion Public Library Director Rachel Hitt told the newspaper. “[Libraries] have been dictating meeting room use based on the advice of public health experts and the recommendations that we are getting from those guidelines.”


Libraries have erred on the side of caution with COVID-19 since the pandemic hit in March.


“Libraries don’t want to be a transmission point. We don’t want to inadvertently host a super spreader event,” Hitt said.


The Manitowoc-Calumet Library System includes Brillion, Chilton, Kiel, Lester, Manitowoc and New Holstein. Kiel is the only one of the group to be open for patrons, but they too are closed for meetings and in-person programming.


During the most recent city council meeting, the group questioned Hitt on the decisions to keep the library closed. Hitt told them that the library board is who makes a final decision on policy.


“I can make recommendations but it’s up to them to decide what the library does, but the recommendation I made was in line with other libraries throughout the state and the country,” Hitt said.


Hitt said that libraries expect to remain closed until the pandemic reaches case levels that public health experts believe it is a lower risk activity for spreading the virus than it currently is.


Council members specifically asked Hitt about the Boy Scouts not meeting in the basement of the library. The Boy Scouts had asked to meet in their usual spot in the library, but the library was not open to any group, Hitt said.


“Once the public is allowed to use the meeting rooms again, they’re welcome to meet in the basement,” Hitt said. “Their ability to use the meeting room to have their meetings has not changed.”


A separate policy that has been approved by the board will change how the Boy Scouts use the room when they meet in person again. The board agreed that groups will not have access to storage space and cannot hang things on the walls. Other groups had asked about having space, Hitt said.


“We can’t provide storage space to other groups, so that was one of the things that they wanted to be fair,” Hitt said.


The library closed in March, started curbside pickup in early May, reopened to the public on June 15 with capacity limits, and closed again in October.


Hundreds of curbside orders have been put in. The library had a single-day record with 25 last week.


“We are providing services,” Hitt said.


A more detailed version of this story appears in the Dec. 10, 2020 print edition of The Brillion News.