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Madison library events canceled; facilities to remain open as staffing allows

Madison library events canceled; facilities to remain open as staffing allows

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The city of Madison has canceled most library programs — including this weekend's planned grand opening for the new Pinney Library — amid concerns about public health.

Starting Monday, all library-led events, including storytimes, will be canceled indefinitely, the city said Friday. Events organized by community organizations could also be canceled at the discretion of their sponsors.

The city said it plans to keep libraries open to the public, although staffing shortages could lead to future closures.

"While our libraries are public spaces with a lot of foot traffic and the potential for germ transmission, our libraries are also critical resources for information and internet access, voter registration, in-person absentee voting, distance education, and a place with resources for people to fill out their 2020 Census forms," Tana Elias, the library's digital services and marketing manager, said in a statement.

Elias said libraries are taking steps to limit personal contact within facilities and are cleaning more frequently. 

Elias noted that many services are available through the library's website.

The decision to scuttle this weekend's Pinney grand opening was spurred by public health guidelines as well as multiple cancellations by performers and other event participants amid efforts to slow the spread of a new coronavirus.

The $10.5 million East Side facility, which replaced an older library about half the size, was officially opened Thursday. Tours and a grand opening celebration had been scheduled for Saturday and Sunday.

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