HUDSON -- A handful of patrons waited outside before the Hudson Public Library doors opened Monday. Library staff greeted them warmly, and both staff and patrons expressed excitement for the reopening.

“We’re really eager to reopen, but the most important thing is that patrons and staff are safe,” Interim Co-director Shelley Tougas said. “So we’re taking a slow but steady approach.”

The library is open limited hours, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. Capacity is limited to 15 patrons at one time.

Masks are strongly encouraged, and staff will be required to wear them.

“We hope patrons will, too,” Tougas said.

Signage posted around the library welcomes patrons and reminds them of the new health policies.

“We wanted it to be kid-friendly and welcoming,” Interim Co-Director Madeline Page said.

Not all services are reopening with the library doors. Meeting rooms and the history room will remain closed, as well as the restrooms. All children’s toys are put away.

Those who want to use the computer bank need to make an appointment.

Curbside pickup of materials will continue to be offered.

“We know some people are eager to get back in the building and browse, other people want their library materials but they don’t feel safe coming into town and entering the building,” Tougas said. “So we’re really happy to continue to do curbside for those people.”

This is the first and strictest phase of the library’s reopening, Page said.

“We’re hoping to add more services as soon as we’re able to,” she said.

While the library doors were closed, staff were still working to connect with the community. They started virtual programming which will continue now that the library has reopened. Virtual summer camps are still available to join this summer, including writing, STEM, games, and arts and crafts camp.

Wifi capacity from the library was extended, so patrons can access it as long as they’re within a few blocks of the building.

“Despite the building looking quiet, there’s been a ton of activity inside,” Tougas said.

Other area libraries

The New Richmond Friday Memorial Library also reopened Monday, July 6, with limited hours.

The library will have limited hours, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Saturday, and 2-6 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday. The building will be closed Fridays for cleaning.

Building capacity is limited to 20 people, including staff. Seating areas will be removed, and people are discouraged from hanging out at the library.

Face coverings are encouraged for those over the age of 2. Bathrooms will be for emergencies only.

Curbside pickup and returns are still available, as well as virtual and outdoor programs.

Hammond Community Library reopened on June 1, Director Michelle Johnson said. It is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Patrons are required to wear a mask while in the building and practice social distancing.

The book drop is open at all times, and patrons are asked to use it to return all items.

All programming is being done virtually. Registration is required at the library website at hammondpubliclibrary.org.

River Falls Public Library remains closed. Opening requires approval from the board, which next meets July 13. Until then, curbside pickup and virtual events will continue.

Somerset Public Library remains closed at this time. It is open for curbside pickup.