QUINCY — The Quincy Public Library has furloughed its staff and ceased operations, though some digital services will remain available.
In a statement, the library said the furloughs were issued because of the extended stay-at-home order issued for the COVID-19 pandemic. The Illinois order runs through April 30.
Lynn Niewohner, president of the library Board of Trustees, said that 34 of the 37 employees were furloughed until further notice.
The decision to furlough employees was made as library employees are not classified as essential personnel, as other employees of the city are.
“The board, like the rest of the world, had no idea these stay-at-home orders would remain in effect,” Niewohner said. “Now that we know that there will be no quick fix, we decided that we should act prudently and keep people at home.”
Most library staff had been working from home over the last few weeks.
Looking ahead, Niewohner said the city hasn’t given the library any definitive information about cuts in connection with reduced revenues, but the board does expect a reduction in funding.
“But we are hoping for the best,” she added.
The library was last open to the public March 16. It provided limited services to patrons, including allowing patrons to reserve materials to be placed in hold lockers at the library, its kiosk branch inside County Market at 48th and Broadway, Lincoln Douglas Elementary School and Iles Elementary School.
The library sealed its book drops and extended all due dates and suspended fines just days later.
The library said patrons can now return books at the book drop at the library, 526 Jersey, but all other drops remain closed. Due dates on all materials continue to be extended.
Access to online databases and digital services will be available at the library’s website, quincylibrary.org, but reference and technical assistance will not be available.