As the Cloquet Public Library reopens, patrons returning to browse the books or use computers are finding a space very different from the one they were used to when the building was closed to the public in March.

The library reopened to the public June 15 after the building was closed for more than two months during the coronavirus outbreak. In the interim, the $2.5 million renovation and construction project was largely completed. The Boldt Co. finished the main phase of the 7,000-square-foot expansion Friday, June 26, with a few smaller items left to be finished.

The construction also included moving the circulation desk to a more central location and expanding the children’s area to allow programs for more people to attend.

While most of the construction is finished, the rooms in the newest part of the building are waiting to be filled with furniture, big screen TVs and, most importantly, people.

The library is open for people to browse the collections or use computers, but staff are trying to limit the number of people in the library and are offering a variety of virtual and online programming for children, teens and adults.

Adult services librarian Courtney Dietsche said there is still nowhere in the common areas of the building to sit and read, but people who need to use a computer can use one of the private rooms available.

“We are encouraging them to come and do whatever they need to do and then head back out,” she said.

Dietsche added computer time is limited to 45 minutes and it’s best to call ahead and reserve rooms ahead of time.

In addition, the library’s online and phone ordering for curbside pick-up continue to allow people to get materials without going inside the building, Dietsche said. Patrons should also call ahead to schedule a pick-up and a staff member will collect the items, place them in a labeled plastic bag on a cart just inside the front door of the library.

“We’re continuing to do that for people who don’t feel comfortable coming into the library,” Dietsche said.

While access and in-person programming is still limited, children’s librarian Keiko Satomi is still recording and uploading videos of “Storytime” weekly through the end of July. The regular program was held in-person until the COVID-19 outbreak forced the change. If restrictions continue into the fall, Satomi will resume posting videos in September.

Cloquet Public Library children's librarian Keiko Satomi records a "Storytime" video in one of the private rooms available in the library. Satomi plans to continue posting the videos to the library's Facebook page weekly through the end of July and will resume in September. Jamey Malcomb/Pine Journal
Cloquet Public Library children's librarian Keiko Satomi records a "Storytime" video in one of the private rooms available in the library. Satomi plans to continue posting the videos to the library's Facebook page weekly through the end of July and will resume in September. Jamey Malcomb/Pine Journal

Youth services librarian Justin Dinger was forced to cancel the library’s June “camp” about rain gardens because of the pandemic, but plans to hold the second edition of his “space camp” virtually late in July. A third camp, “digital broadcasting,” is planned for August. Dinger hopes conditions will allow the camp to take place in-person, but has plans to conduct it virtually if not. The space camp will be held July 20-24 and digital broadcasting will run from Aug. 17-20.

All virtual and online programming at the library will be available as long as necessary, Dietsche said.

Summer reading program available for children and adults

The Cloquet Public Library is also continuing to offer signups for its summer reading program for children and adults.

Children who log seven hours of reading will receive a free book. In addition, children who receive badges for finishing five, 10 or 15 books will be eligible to enter drawings for gift cards from Amazon, Legacy Toys, Zenith Bookstore in Duluth and Barnes & Noble.

Adults finishing similar numbers of books can enter drawings for gift cards from Amazon, L&M Fleet Supply and Super One.

Those interested in learning more about the summer reading program or any of the planned programs should visit cloquetlibrary.org.