LAKEWOOD, Ohio — More than two months after reopening its doors and offering in-person services at its Main Library and Madison Branch, Lakewood Public Library has yet to allow members back into its technology center located at the Detroit Avenue branch.
That decision has caused quite a bit of vocal derision from patrons desperate for computer access.
“Safety is our biggest priority and anybody who has ever been in the technology center room knows that it’s not very large and air ventilation is a bit of a problem,” Lakewood Public Library Public Services Librarian Andrea Fisher said. “Some suggested we could have fans blowing.
“We consulted with the Cleveland Clinic, which said that’s one of the worst things we could do. As far as spacing out computers, that’s hard to do because of the aisles and the fact they’re hardwired into the desks, which means we can’t move them to another room.”
With eight-foot high ceilings, the roughly 1,000-square-foot technology center includes more than 50 computers, which prove quite popular. This is also problematic.
“Many of our patrons who come in to use the computer need a lot of help,” Fisher said. “It puts us in an uncomfortable position because of the whole issue of proximity (related to social distancing). So it’s a tough decision. It’s a tough thing.
“We’re all sick of COVID, its impact on our lives and how we can’t do things that we’d like to do. A lot of the criticism is emotional, and I totally get that. We’re not trying to keep anyone away. The decision was not an easy one to arrive at by any stretch. It’s something we feel badly about every day.”
A solution may be on the horizon in the form of the Lakewood Public Library purchasing laptop computers that could