Benzie  Shores District Library

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Benzie Shores District  Library

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COVID Response FAQ

updated 05/12/2021

In response to COVID-19, Benzie Shores District Library is taking several steps to protect our staff and the general public – in particular the high-risk populations we serve. This page contains the most up-to-date information pertaining to library services.​

Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have questions or concerns. We’re listening. You may email us, or call 352-4671.


Q:  Why were you closed for so long?
A:  On Thursday, March 12, 2020 Governor Whitmer released an executive order closing all schools at the close of the school day, Friday March 13th. By Friday morning, warnings were being sent through multiple library communication networks recommending library closure. Libraries, including Benzie Shores, made the difficult decision to close their doors. By Saturday, the Michigan Library Association issued a recommendation to all libraries in the state to close. By Monday, March 15th, Governor Whitmer issued Executive Order 2020-9, mandating library closures.
The library was closed from March 13 until June 8, 2020, when we began offering curbside service.

Q: Are you operating with any restrictions?
A:  The MDHHS Order requires BSDL to limit capacity to 50%. In order to help limit the number of people in the building at any one time, and to help lessen the chance of any prolonged exposure to COVID-19 by library patrons and staff, we ask patrons to limit their time in the library if possible.  

Q: Why can’t children play in the children’s area?  Where are the toys?
A: In order to help limit the number of people in the building at any one time, we encourage families to spend time selecting their materials but to leave the library once you have a big stack of library books. Instead of playing at the library, we encourage you to try one of our Circle Time kits for toddlers, or a STEM kit for older children. Take home crafts are typically available while supplies last.
We are also preparing to move the children's area to the library's new addition! This means many items may not be accessible during construction.

Q:  Why aren’t there in-person programs?
A:  We can’t wait to start providing programs again; however, in person programming will not resume until capacity and limits are lifted- or until the library's expansion project is finished.

Q:  Do patrons have to wear masks in the library?  
For the safety of our entire community, we are requiring all people using the library to wear a mask. If you forgot your mask, don’t worry, we will give you one. We have other accommodations available for those unable to wear a mask.

Q:  Is the library accepting book donations?  
A:  BSDL no longer hosts an annual book sale and was not accepting donations prior to COVID. Donations can be taken to Blue Vase Book Exchange in Interlochen, or items in like new condition can be taken to the Benzonia Public Library. Contact BPL for donation times and COVID protocols.

Q:  Should I quarantine library materials?
Initially, we quarantined items for 48-72 hours. This practice of holding returned items in quarantine was based on limited COVID-19 data, which has since been expanded with revised guidance from the CDC. The CDC advises there is a low risk of spreading the virus through surfaces such as book covers, making quarantine unnecessary. According to the CDC, the virus is believed to spread mainly from person-to-person. The most effective precautions include washing hands often, avoiding close contact with others in public and wearing a mask over the nose and mouth.

We will continue to review the available scientific data and recommendations from the appropriate authorities, adjusting procedures if new information emerges.

Q: I don’t have my library card number and I need it to access online materials.
A:  Contact the library at, or call 352-4671 and leave a message. You can text the library at 231-216-2786. A staff member will contact you with your card number.

Q: I don’t have a library card. Can I still access online services?
A: You can apply for a card online at Or, contact the library at, or call 352-4671.

Q: I don’t have internet access at home? How can my child access their online assignments?
A:  The school districts in Benzie county are geographically some of the largest in the state. Unfortunately, our rural district is full of internet dead zones, meaning high speed internet is simply not available, or too expensive for many families. The library’s wifi is available from the parking lot. Several internet providers are temporarily offering their services to students for free. Visit to see what options are available.
Both Frankfort Elberta Area Schools (352-4641) and Benzie Central Schools (882 – 9653) are working with families to find distance learning solutions. Please don’t hesitate to contact the school for assistance.

Q: Why does each library in the area have a different COVID response?
A:  The directors of all 4 Benzie county libraries have been in communication with each other since COVID began. Each regional library is managed under it's own governing board and policies. While we all work together with a shared mission, each library's physical outlay, staffing and funding is different. It is important to every library that their community has access to library materials, but safety is top priority. This balance of access and safety looks different for each library.