The Huntsville Public Library is back on the books after being closed for more than 16 months. Starting July 20, residents will be able to visit in-person to browse both the shelves and the internet. 

Library CEO and Chief Librarian David Tremblay says the building will have a capacity limit of 20 people, and visitors will have a soft time limit of 30 minutes.

“It’s not going to be strictly enforced, but sort of a guiding principle,” Tremblay says. “Get in when you need, get assistance from staff when you need it.”

Tremblay says the library closed for construction shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic, and has remained closed ever since, except for no-contact pickup through its Library-to-Go program. According to Tremblay, there were tentative plans to reopen late last year, but rising case numbers kept them on hold.

“Even though we could have opened up late fall, early winter, soon after we were doing Library-to-Go, it was just safer for staff and everybody to keep people out of the building at that point in time,” says Tremblay.

There are no in-person events scheduled for the building, but Tremblay says the library is running a number of community events around Huntsville. StoryWalks at Arrowhead Provincial Park, Fairy Vista Trail, and Hunter’s Bay Trail run until the end of August, and involve displaying the pages of children’s books along a trail for visitors to read as they walk. 

For adults, the library’s Puzzle Art Project gives residents puzzle pieces to be painted and added to a 48-piece mosaic, to be displayed at the library when the project ends in August. Finally, the library’s outdoor chess club will run Thursdays at Hutcheson Beach, starting August 12th and ending the 26th.

“We’re really excited to have the community back in the building,” says Tremblay. “I know that there are various members who have expressed that they’re actually quite excited about it, and I know that staff is looking to be welcoming the community back and having the library be one of the linchpins of the community.”