The Grand Forks Public Library will begin offering curbside pick-up services July 6, while the building itself remains closed, due to the pandemic.

The library’s drop-off boxes also will be reopened July 6. They are located at the Grand Forks library’s entrance, the Altru Family YMCA, Choice Health and Fitness, and Thompson, N.D., public school. Late fines have been waived since the library closed March 17.

The plan allows patrons to request and check out materials online or by phone. When patrons arrive at the library parking lot, they call a staff member who will deliver the item or items to a table for pickup.

The move marks the first part of a phased reopening plan the Library Board approved at its regular monthly meeting on Wednesday, June 17.

Library Director Wendy Wendt presented the plan to the board for consideration in May.

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At the request of the board, Wendt met with Kari Goelz, director of Grand Forks Emergency Management Office, to review the plan.

Goelz said the plan was “very thorough,” one of the most thorough among libraries in the state, Wendt told the board Wednesday.

“(Goelz) had no concerns; she didn’t add a thing,” Wendt said.

The July 6 start date gives library staff a week to be back in the building and prepare for this phase of reopening, Wendt told the board.

The plan is meant to serve as a “flexible guide and (is) not set in stone,” said Wendt, noting, in the past, that the library may need to move forward or backward in the phases, depending on public health recommendations or requirements at any given time.

Board President Justin Berry said that Wendt, as director, “has the authority to determine when the library moves from one phase to another.”

A date for reopening the library building has not yet been decided.

Social injustice statement

In other action, the board heard social injustice statements written by eight library employees and read by Wendt and staff member Kirsten Pearson, urging the board to publicly approve a statement, drafted by the library’s marketing department, denouncing racism, in light of recent race-related conflict between police officers and African American citizens.

After much discussion, board members voted to endorse a statement patterned after one issued by the North Dakota Library Association, the American Library Association, and the Black Caucus of the American Library Association.

Since the statement “has a shelf-life,” board member Peter Johnson recommended that "something more permanent be considered."

The topic will be placed on the agenda for a future meeting, Berry said.