The Great River Regional Library is opening its branch
offices to curbside service. Mike Potter, who represents Wright County on the
GRRL Board of Directors, said that the process had started at some branches,
but has now been expanded to all branches systemwide.
Potter explained the process, which began this week,
saying, “You order them online and get a time when you can come and pick them
up. We’re being told that it will be done at all branches. People will have to
call or go online to see what the open hours for a specific branch are because
they have been cut way back due to COVID-19, but we were told all branches will
have he curbside service available to some extent.”
GRRL has 33 branch libraries in six counties (Benton,
Morrison, Sherburne, Stearns, Todd and Wright), including nine branches in
Wright County (Annandale, Buffalo, Clearwater, Cokato, Delano, Howard Lake,
Monticello, Rockford and St. Michael).
Like many businesses, the library system has been
forced to adapt to the new reality of the pandemic and Potter believes it has
changed GRRL’s view of looking long term for evolving the role libraries play
in a growingly paperless world moving toward technology options.
“COVID-19 has forced the library to change how it
operates,” Potter said. “Changes are coming faster than they would have
otherwise. Before, they could have said they were going to get something done
in 10 years. Now, those numbers have been dropped down to five. It’s made them
look at things a different way.”
Potter added that the combination of 2020 budgets not
being fully utilized and an eight-month fund reserve balance, what was planned
to be a request for a 1.7 percent increase for 2021 to cover union contracts is
going to be a flat budget proposal.
“The potential for a 1.7 percent budget increase is
probably closer to a zero increase for 2021,” Potter said. “We have a healthy
fund reserve and it was the consensus of the board that, given the
circumstances we’re in now, to make it so the increase won’t be felt – what we
paid last year, we’ll pay this year. We’re looking to have zero (budget) impact.
I believe we have more than enough money to pull it off. I think the smaller
counties in the organization really appreciated that because it will be a tough
budget to do next year.”
For more information about a library branch near you,
go to the following link: https://griver.org/locations.
The open hours won’t be the same as the ones listed on the website, but it includes
the phone numbers for each that will either be answered or have a voicemail message
detailing the open hours for that branch.