Village on the rebound

Library, pool among Hinsdale attractions expanding access in pandemic recovery

Phase 4 of Restore Illinois is here, which means cherished local facilities are able to welcome back the public - at least on a limited basis.

The Hinsdale Public Library, 20 E. Maple St., will begin to reopen Tuesday, July 7, for "Grab and Go" browsing and checkout from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays.

"It feels great," said Karen Keefe, executive director of the library, about the opening. The library has been closed to the public since March 16 in response to COVID-19.

Patrons and staff are required to wear masks while using the library and visits should be kept under one hour in length. Public computers are available to library cardholders by reservation only. Keefe said the library will limit the number in the building, if necessary, but the process for that is still being developed.

"This is out first pandemic," she quipped. "Depending on what the schools do in the fall, that's going to change our traffic flow."

Keefe said curbside service, which the library has offered since early May, will continue "for folks that aren't ready to come in yet." Curbside service hours will change, however, to 9 a.m. to noon Monday through Saturday beginning July 7.

"This gives us time before and after we open to the public to still have staff in the building for extra cleanings and for pulling books and re-shelving so we're not crossing paths too much," she said.

Public seating, study rooms, meeting rooms, children's toys and in-person programs are not yet available, but the library has continued to offer virtual services, including online reference, digital programs, and access to thousands of eBooks, eAudiobooks, movies, music. Use of those resources "went through the roof" during the last three months, Keefe reported.

The library also launched a special newsletter for senior patrons to maintain a spirit of community during the shutdown.

"People really appreciate us reaching out and sharing really relevant information and reading recommendations," Keefe said. "The different ways that people rely on the library to stay connected really came across through this."

Keefe said the library continues to quarantine all returned materials for three days before putting them back on the shelves.

"We appreciate their patience," she said. "We're trying to operate as safely and efficiently as possible."

Wading back in gradually

The Hinsdale Community Pool opened for public use on Monday on a reservation basis. Open swim is available from 1 to 4 p.m. daily, with baby pool hours from 9 a.m. to noon and lap swim available from 5:15 to 7:15 a.m. and 1 to 4 p.m.

Operating under the current circumstances is challenging, but staff and patrons are doing their part, Heather Bereckis, the village's supervisor of recreation, said Tuesday.

"We're seeing people that are really excited to be there, and they are willing to help us manage the situation," she said.

Reservations were full through today, Bereckis reported. Priority is given to residents, she noted, with a certain amount set aside for non-residents. And the demand is far-reaching.

"We are getting inquiries from Chicago, Oak Park and Aurora and Downers Grove," she said.

Visitors must make their payment when making their reservation. They are also required to fill out a waiver, which is available online for people to complete in advance of their visit.

"We keep it on file so you only have to fill out one for the season," Bereckis noted.

Temperature checks are taken of everyone entering the pool facility, and only those who are below 99.9 degrees will be allowed entry. Masks are required at check-in, in the locker rooms and when walking on deck, but not in the pool.

"Everyone seems really willing to cooperate" with a couple exceptions, Bereckis reported.

The chairs have been removed from the deck and areas have been marked off for each household to promote social distancing. Groups are allowed to bring in a maximum of two chairs for their space. Goggles, fins and life jackets are also permitted.

Bereckis said concessions are not being sold yet but anticipates they will be available next week.

Reservations can be made by phone only at (630) 789-7091 or (630) 789-7098 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, and (630) 789-7098 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays.

Like Keefe, Bereckis asked for patron patience.

"We have all four of our phones being answered, and we're getting back to everyone that leaves a message," she said.

More details are available at

Author Bio

Ken Knutson is associate editor of The Hinsdalean