The Freeport Memorial Library is among a few libraries on...

The Freeport Memorial Library is among a few libraries on Long Island that have either closed temporarily or have moved to virtual events due to a surge in coronavirus cases Credit: Jessica Rotkiewicz

At least two public libraries in Suffolk County and one in Nassau were closed Monday because of staffing shortages caused by the surge in coronavirus cases, officials said.

The Sayville and Brentwood libraries will remain closed on Tuesday as officials review their staffing schedules, while Freeport officials weighed closing for the rest of the week.

Across Long Island, public libraries stepped up curbside pickup services and moved many in-person events such as concerts and yoga classes online to help stem a wave of COVID-19 cases.

Sayville Public Library director Jenn Fowler said seven of the library's 14 circulation desk employees — who have the most direct contact with patrons — had tested positive for the virus. Two other library employees also had tested positive, Fowler said.

Fowler said Sayville officials hoped to reopen the library on Wednesday if enough employees are healthy and available.

"It’s also challenging because most of my staff in that [circulation] department work part time," Fowler said. "Most of my staff in that department work in other libraries."

Fowler, who also is president of the Public Library Directors Association of Suffolk County, said the Brentwood Public Library also was closed.

A message posted on the Brentwood website said the library would be closed Monday and Tuesday "out of an abundance of caution," adding that online services, telephone reference and webchat assistance would be available during normal hours of operation.

In Freeport, a person at the front desk said officials were not sure if the library closure would be extended for the rest of the week.

Rockville Centre and Baldwin libraries have moved to virtual events, and Jericho Public Library will implement grab-and-go services, officials said.

In a statement, Catherine Overton, director of Rockville Centre Public Library, said programs had been "moved to a virtual-only platform," adding the temporary measure would be reevaluated in mid-January.

Baldwin Library director Elizabeth Olesh said officials there chose to switch to all virtual events until further notice.

"Just for now, to make sure the community is as safe as possible, we are going the all virtual route and as soon as we can, we’ll go back to in-person," Olesh said.

Fowler said the Sayville library had implemented a mix of live and remote programs, adding that books and other material could be ordered and picked up at a curbside drop box.

"We’re just doing this day-by-day, at this point," Fowler said. "Obviously, we have to keep the staff safe and keep the public safe."

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