ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — The St. Louis County Library System on Wednesday said it is laying off 122 part-time employees as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to reduce the number of services it provides.
The laid-off staffers will receive a four-week severance package and a guaranteed job with the St. Louis County Health Department's COVID-19 response team, according to library spokeswoman Jennifer McBride.
The health department jobs offered to laid-off library workers will actually pay more than the library jobs, with flexible hours and work that can be done from home, she said.
"Many other libraries in Missouri and across the country have made similar decisions, as COVID-19 continues to impact the services we can provide," the library said in a statement distributed by McBride. "SLCL delayed this decision as long as possible. We continue to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars and are working hard to find ways to continue to serve our patrons during this unprecedented time. In making this difficult decision we looked at current levels of patron activity, past and current usage statistics for curbside, and the desire to keep our employees safe by not having an unnecessary amount of employees in public spaces."
The library system reopened its 20 buildings in June, but with face mask requirements and capacity restrictions that limited visitors to 60 minutes each. But it reverted back to curbside-only service in late July after a resurgence of COVID-19 cases hit the county.