Local libraries update plans to resume some services – Lake County Public Library system updates plans for services

Written by Chronicle Staff. Posted in Community News & People in the News, Featured

Published on May 17, 2020 with No Comments

The Lake County Public Library system, that includes the Hobart and Lake Station/New Chicago branches, reports that staff will be returning to library buildings the week of May 11, when Lake County’s stay-at-home order officially lifts, to begin training on new safety and material handling practices.

Until further notice, all LCPL branches are closed and all meetings and other gatherings have been cancelled due to COVID-19.

Library items are not yet due and will not accrue late fees. Patrons should continue to hold on to materials until they learn otherwise. The library system has more than 50,000 items out at this time, and each of them will be quarantined upon their return. The library system will be recalling materials at a time, starting with DVDs

DVDs will be welcome back via the book drops beginning May 20. However, they will not be due until June 1 (for new releases) or July 1 (for all others).

For all other items, the library will begin to send almost-due notifications in July. Patrons should keep them until they receive a notification that they are due.

When library items are returned, they will enter quarantine for 72 hours before they can be checked out again. This is the maximum time COVID-19 can survive on a plastic surface. The virus can only survive on paper for 24 hours, but the library is exercising an abundance of caution given the many varieties of materials it loans out.

Any item patrons check out has been quarantined for 72 hours or longer and is safe to handle.

To use the library’s services while the library is closed, patrons need a resident library card number and PIN.  High school students have their eLibrary cards (aka Digital Access Cards). Most high schools in the library district handed these out at the beginning of the school year so that high schoolers who go to school in the district can use the online collection even if they live in a different library district.

For LCPL residents, their library card still provide access to all library online collections, including Overdrive/Libby, Hoopla, and Freegal.  
Also, library staff are still monitoring the Ask a Librarian service for patrons with questions.

The library has also introduced a new callback service: Dial 219-769-3541 and leave a message. A librarian will call back within one business day.

The library system now offers virtual storytime on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays at 10:30 a.m. from the library’s YouTube page. Here is the schedule:

•       Tuesday and Saturday: Picture Book Storytime

•       Wednesday: Mother Goose on the Loose (for babies 0 – 24 months)

•       Thursday: Middle Grade Book Tasting (The first chapter of a book your older kids might like.

Kids Activity Page designed specially by LCPL librarians can help keep children active and learning while staying home.

Teen and Adult Activity Page, containing things to learn and do while at home, has also been developed by staff librarians.

To learn more, call 219-769-3541 or visit www.lclin.org/covid/.

Porter County libraries have resumed curbside delivery service

The Porter County Public Library System has announced that while facilities remain closed to visitors, it has resumed curbside delivery service at all branches weekdays from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., effective May 4.

According to Library Director Jesse Butz, the system’s primary responsibility is to provide patrons and team members with a safe and welcoming environment. To that end the library asks patrons to follow the process listed here.

1. Curbside pickup is available for all items at PCPLS.

2. Only items that have been quarantined for at least three days will be reservable.

3. All curbside items must be reserved the day prior to pickup to allow staff to safely retrieve the materials. Patrons should not plan on arriving at the library without having received a pickup notice or contacting the branch to confirm their availability.

4. No returns will be accepted by team members during the curbside process. The library will accept returns through any of the external drop boxes. All returned items will not be checked in and will still show on a patron’s account for a minimum of three days.

5.  When someone arrives at the library, that person should pull his/her vehicle into any open curbside spot designated by the numbered signs This sign will have the phone number a patron will need to call in order to check out items.

6.  When calling the curbside number, be patient. For the safety of the team, the library is limiting the number of employees in our buildings in order to maximize social distancing. All calls will be answered in the order they are received. If a patron receives voicemail, the library will call back as soon as possible.

7.  When speaking to a team member, have the library card number ready.

8.  A team member, wearing a mask, will bring items to the numbered sign in front of your vehicle. They will place a bag of items on the provided hook. Patrons should not exit their vehicle until the team member is more than six feet from the vehicle. As a reminder, no returns or donations will be accepted by team members.

9.  All items will have extended due dates. However, drop boxes are open, so patrons may return items at convenience.

The Porter County Public Library System includes Valparaiso, Portage, South Haven, Kouts, and Hebron

Patrons are encouraged to follow the library system on Facebook or visit its website at www.pcpls.org.

Westchester providing virtual services online

As noted in its May newsletter, the Westchester Public Library crew is creating and recording virtual content to bring the Chesterton and Porter are entertainment, education, and information.

The public is encouraged to check out WPL’s YouTube channel and find a growing collection of videos, featuring storytimes, songs, STEAM activities, crafts and DIYs, and book reviews.

Storytime families will see familiar faces performing songs, rhymes, and reading stories. It’s storytime right at home.

“I am proud of staff as they navigate this unusual and challenging time with gusto and great attitudes. Their creativity and dedication is going strong, and we’re glad to be there for patrons as we get through this together,” said WPL Director Lisa Stamm.

The public should checking the library’s YouTube channel as it evolves. Also, the WPL website offers virtual resources 24/7, providing access to ebooks, emagazines, emovies, ecomics, and learning and educational databases.

In addition, WPL librarians are available to help with questions and research needs through the “Ask A Librarian” form.

The library system’s website is www.wpl.lib.in.us/virtuallibrary/.

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