DC-area readers rush to local libraries as coronavirus prompts closures

Sunday was the last day several libraries in the D.C. area were open, as closings due to the coronavirus loom.

For some students and avid readers, such as those Miller Branch of the Howard County Library in Howard County, Maryland, that meant stocking up.

“We came to pick up some books before the break so that we actually had stuff to do,” said Annie Bolenbaugh, 15, who was there with her parents and 13-year-old brother, Charlie.

Their family was rushing into the library the day before it shuts its doors. It plans to reopen March 28.

They were stocking up on things they anticipate they might need while schools are closed. Key items included “some books, some movies,” Annie said, with Charlie adding, “mostly movies.”

The children said their teachers gave them a few assignments to complete after spring break, but beyond that, they were mostly searching for things to help them remain entertained.

“I never really expected this to happen, so I guess we’re just going to kind of just ride it out,” Annie said.

Timothy Keller, 18, a senior at Chapelgate Christian Academy, said his school is transitioning to online lessons, and he visited the library to begin conducting research.

“I’m working on a term paper at the moment, and I just want some stuff to read, because I go through books kind of fast and I don’t feel like spending money,” Keller said.

He’s excited schools are out, because it means he’ll have some time to unwind.

“I don’t have to wake up as early anymore, so that’s nice,” Keller said.

Kathy Currie, of Ellicott City, stopped by “to get books so I’ll have something to do while I’m inside,” she said.

She’s an avid reader and wants to be ready. “I had just returned four books, so I wanted something to read at home.”

Here are the statuses of the public libraries in the D.C. area:

In Maryland, all branches of the Howard County, Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, Calvert County and Frederick County public libraries will be closed Monday through March 27.

Branches of the Charles County public libraries closed Saturday and will be closed through March 28.

All Anne Arundel County and St. Mary’s public libraries closed on Saturday and will be closed through March 29.

In Virginia, Alexandria City public libraries are open with some programs and events canceled.

Arlington County Public Libraries closed this weekend, with the Central and Columbia Pike locations opening on Monday for Wi-Fi and public computer use.

Fairfax County public library branches remain open with some events canceled. In Loudoun County, all branches of the public libraries will close Monday but implement curbside pickup at all 10 branches beginning later in the week.

In Stafford County, all branches are open but all events are canceled.

In D.C., all libraries will close Monday and reopen April 1. All book drops will be locked, so people with books should keep them — late fees will be waived.

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