Prince William libraries closing for employees to help with COVID-19 vaccines

This article was written by WTOP’s news partner InsideNoVa.com and republished with permission. Sign up for InsideNoVa.com’s free email subscription today.

Prince William County’s 12 public libraries will be closed to the public and offering curbside service only starting Feb. 1 to dedicate staff to man COVID-19 vaccine call centers.

Staff from all library branches have volunteered to support the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines by helping to schedule vaccine appointments and provide general phone support, the library system said in a news release.

In response to staff hours being put toward vaccine call centers, libraries will offer contact-free curbside pickup service only beginning Feb. 1.

Currently the Bull Run, Central, Chinn Park, Haymarket Gainesville, Montclair, and Potomac branch libraries are open to the public.

After Feb. 1, none of the buildings will be open to the public, but other services will remain available, even while many staff are working at the call centers.

Patrons can schedule pickup service by calling their preferred branch or by scheduling a pickup time at www.pwcgov.org/library.

  • Bull Run, Central, Chinn Park, Haymarket Gainesville Manassas City, Montclair, Potomac: Monday — Saturday, 10 a.m. — 5 p.m.
  • Dale City, Dumfries, Independent Hill, Lake Ridge, Nokesville: Monday — Thursday, 10 a.m. — 2 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. — 2 p.m. Closed Friday and Sunday.

“Contact-free curbside pickup was first offered just a week after PWPL first closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020,” comments library system Deborah Wright.

“It has since become a popular service throughout the remainder of 2020 and will become part of PWPL’s standard services in the future.”

The library system will also continue its phone assistance during the hours noted above and will offer virtual programming through its website, www.pwcgov.org/library, and on social media. In fiscal 2020, more than 4,600 virtual programs were enjoyed by nearly 634,000 “attendees.”

Library employees are no stranger to providing support during the COVID-19 pandemic: Days after the libraries closed in March 2020, staff used sewing machines purchased for Central Library’s Makerspace to produce hundreds of masks for Prince William County employees.

In September, the library system began offering mobile Wi-Fi hot spots for patrons who could not visit its libraries to use public computers.

In total, hot spots have been checked out more than 400 times in less than five months. Mobile hot spots are checked out by calling a PWPL branch or through the online catalog.

On Thursday, Jan. 14, the Prince William Health District, in conjunction with Prince William County Government, expanded the COVID-19 Call Center to include information on the vaccine.

The call center provides information to residents concerning COVID-19 vaccines and assists with those who do not have access to a computer, the internet or email.

Call center hours: Monday — Sunday, 9 a.m. — 4:30 p.m. 703-872-7759.

This article was written by WTOP’s news partner InsideNoVa.com and republished with permission. Sign up for InsideNoVa.com’s free email subscription today.

 

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