Covid19_FAQ_Blog.jpg

This post was last updated at 10:58 a.m. on May 19, 2020

Are Library buildings open?  

No, all 41 Library locations are closed to the public until further notice.

However, our eBranch is open 24/7 and we are here to help by phone, email or chat seven days a week. Drive-thru services will begin May 26. We are also hosting live online events regularly. Check our calendar for more information. For your convenience, we also have resource demos and recorded events that can be accessed on-demand.

Leadership continues to assess the closure status on a regular basis. The Library's ReStart Plan will guide and support the reopening of our 42 facilities, phasing in services, and bringing back staff over the next weeks and months, in accordance with Ohio Governor DeWine's gradual reopening plan.

Is Library drive-thru open? 

Beginning May 26, we are opening the drive-thrus at our facilities who have them: Covedale, Groesbeck, Harrison, Reading, and the Downtown Main Library. Symmes does not have a drive-thru, but will be offering curbside service beginning May 26. 

Customers can pick up existing holds only. If time allows and there are not many other customers waiting, we may be able to fulfill general, on-demand requests like "books for 4-year olds" or "comedy DVDs". In early June we expect that customers will be able to place and pick up new holds. We have a large existing backlog of holds to fulfill before we begin accepting new holds. 

The drive-thru hours of operation are 10 a.m. - 9 p.m. Monday-Tuesday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday. Drive-thru is closed on Sundays.

We are not accepting returns on books or other materials you have already checked out at the drive-thrus. We have automatically extended due dates so you will not incur late fees. 

Is curbside pickup available? 

Symmes will be offering curbside service beginning May 26

Curbside service will be available at these locations starting May 28: Blue Ash and Loveland. Hours are: Monday-Tuesday, 10 a.m. - 9 p.m. and Wednesday - Saturday 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Curbside service will be available at these locations starting June 1: Anderson, Clifton, Green Township, North Central, and Walnut Hills. Hours are: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday Noon - 8:00 p.m. and Wednesday, Friday, Saturday 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.

We will be adding curbside services to more locations later in June, and we will keep you posted when those decisions are finalized. We are not accepting returns on books or other materials you have already checked out at the curbside pickup. 

Is the Virtual Information Center open? 

Yes. The Library’s Virtual Information Center is currently open for chat and calls. Call 513-369-6900 between 9 a.m. 9 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and 9 a.m.  6 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. Sunday. You can send an email at any time and staff will respond as soon as they are able. You can also schedule My Librarian one-on-one appointments

Can I return Library materials I have checked out? 

Emergency drop-off for borrowed materials will take place beginning at 9 a.m. May 13 through May 17, so that those of you who need to can return items. While our preference is for you to hold on to your Library materials at this time, we do understand that some of you have a need to return them. 

You can return materials during the drop-off time period at all locations except Greenhills and Price Hill.  

Please know that due dates for materials have automatically been extended and no one is incurring late fees.  

Will I be fined for overdue materials?

No. We are automatically extending due dates during the Library's closure. If you currently have physical materials checked out, we ask that you do not return them for the time being. Please note that book drops will be closed after the May 13 - May 17 emergency return period. 

What happens to my holds while the Library is closed and can I place new holds on physical materials?

In order to allow us to efficiently process the over 11,000 holds on physical materials we currently have, we suspended the ability to place new holds on physical items starting Thursday, March 26 at 9 a.m. which will be in effect until further notice.

Your current holds will not be affected and you will not lose your place in line. Staff will begin contacting customers in May to see if you still want us to keep your materials on hold for you, or whether you’ve changed your mind, due to the significant delay. Holds that are currently on the holds shelves will have their pickup dates extended while we are closed. No one will lose their hold because our doors are closed temporarily due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Customers can pick up existing holds only in the drive-thru beginning May 26. In early June we expect that customers will be able to place and pick up new holds.

You're an organization that users taxpayer dollars to serve the public. How can you close?  

We are following the state's plan outlined by the Ohio Department of Health. Our closure is based on the Governor’s decision to extend the Stay at Home order through May 29, as well as the fact that gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited. We'll reassess as we get closer to that date or hear further recommendations from the Governor.

I've heard afternoon meals are being served to kids while schools are closed. What are the details?

While our Libraries are closed, weekday, curbside meals are available for youth, ages 18 and under, at select Library locations. Children must be present to receive a meal. Times and locations are listed on our website's after school meals page. Meal service locations and serving times are subject to change.

Can I sign up for a Library card digitally while the Library is closed to the public?

Yes! We have launched a streamlined library card application for the downloadable card, that allows immediate access to electronic materials, including eBooks and eAudiobooks on our eBranch.

The downloadable card is available for all ages, and we’ve relaxed ID verification so that the card can quickly be moved from temporary status. Once we are back to offering some type of in-person services, we will follow-up with you to verify your address and update your card type if you so choose.  

This only applies to new cards. If you already have a card, please continue to use it. If you have a temporary number now, you can call 513-369-6900 and our staff will help you get a permanent card number.

Can I still book a meeting or study room?  

Because all Library locations are closed until further notice, meeting and study rooms are also currently closed in order to prevent the transmission of illness. You cannot reserve a room while Library facilities are closed. We will reassess the situation as things evolve, so please stay tuned for more details by signing up to receive email alerts or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @cincylibrary.   

When will events at the Library resume?

All in-person Library programming events are currently canceled during Ohio's stay-at-home order, however we have been busy creating many new live and recorded virtual programs and presentations.

We will reassess the situation as it evolves, so please stay tuned for more details by signing up to receive email alerts or following us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @cincylibrary.

Can I still check out physical materials?

Yes, you can check out physical materials at any of the drive-thru locations. Customers can pick up existing holds only. If time allows and there are not many other customers waiting, we may be able to fulfill general, on-demand requests like "books for 4-year olds" or "comedy DVDs". In early June we expect that customers will be able to place and pick up new holds. We have a large existing backlog of holds to fulfill before we begin excepting new holds. 
 
Are book, CD, and other material donations being accepted?  
 
No. Please hold any donations you may have until further notice. In addition, The Friends of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County and The Anderson Township Library Association are not accepting donations at this time.
 
What resources can I access online if the Library is not currently open? 

We have a wealth of digital resources available for free 24/7 with a Library card. Visit our eBranch to learn more.

I'm a teacher who receives collections of books for my classroom. Can I still do that while you’re closed? Will the books currently checked out on my Educator Card incur late fees?

We cannot check out physical materials to you right now, but we can assemble and loan you digital book collections for your students. Please send an email to purchase@cincinnatilibrary.org with your request. You will not incur late fees for books currently checked out with your Educator Card. Due dates have been automatically extended indefinitely.

Can I complete the Census at the Library?   

Not at this time. All 41 Library locations are currently closed to the public until further notice. You may complete the U.S. Census digitally by visiting 2020census.gov.

I heard that the Library recently furloughed some staff and cut hours for others. Does that mean the services that were being provided by phone and online will be scaled back?

No. The Library will not cut back on any of the services we have been providing during the pandemic. In fact, we are increasing the variety and number of our online programs. Please check our calendar regularly for new opportunities.

Have any Library staff tested positive for COVID-19?

One staff member did test positive for COVID-19 and was able to recover at home. This occurred well after the Library closed on March 13, 2020, so no staff or customers would have had an opportunity to come into contact with this person when they were carrying the virus.

How can I get updates about the Library’s operations?  

To access all Library service updates and resources regarding COVID-19 (coronavirus), please visit cincinnatilibrary.org/covid19.

Have additional questions? Contact our Virtual Information Center via email, live chat (on our homepage), or by phone at (513) 369-5005. For more Library service updates and resources regarding COVID-19 please click here

Fill out the form below to receive updates on new blog posts.