COVID-19 Q&A

  • Are library materials safe to borrow? 

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 (and that is under lab conditions designed to be ideal for the virus; in practice, it is likely much shorter). The virus can only survive on paper for 24 hours, but we are exercising an abundance of caution given the many varieties of materials we loan out.

This means that after you return an item, it will be three business days before it is actually checked in. Don’t worry about your item becoming overdue in those three days; we’ve accounted for the quarantine period in our system and because we are a fine free library, no fines will show up on your account.

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

  • Is Summer Reading happening this year?

Yes, but it will look a little different! We’ll be hosting our special Summer Reading events virtually rather than in-person for the most part.
We’re still working on the details, including the dates Summer Reading will take place, but we’ll be sure to keep you in the loop.

  • When is the library re-opening?

It’s the question on everyone’s mind – when is the library re-opening? As you might expect, the answer isn’t simple. But we have a plan!

WPL is planning a phased re-opening similar to what the governor announced for Indiana. During each of these phases, we will continue to offer the remote services you’ve come to rely on, such as virtual trivia night, game night, children’s art class, online storytime, and digital materials, as well as Facebook Live updates.

Here’s our plan:

  • Pre-Opening Phase:

Beginning May 11, when Lake County’s Stay at Home order officially lifts, staff will return to the building in order to learn new procedures for maintaining a safe work environment, and new procedures for safely handling library materials.

The buildings will not be open to the public.
Your items are not due and you will not accrue late fees.

  • Curbside Service Phase:

On May 18, we will begin offering curbside pick-ups so that you can check out new materials. On Friday, May 15 we will make an official announcement about curbside pick-up, including detailed instructions.

  • Item Return Phase:

In order to avoid book drop flooding, and to have enough space to quarantine all returned items we will have a container available during our Curbside Service by the ramp entrance where items being returned can be deposited.

You are welcome to drop off DVDs at our book drop at any time during this health crisis.   DVDs will be quarantined along with all other materials as we implement our new book drop quarantine procedures.

All materials checked out at the time of the library’s closure have a due date of July 1. Some items may still have renewals available and will renew automatically. You’ll get a notification when your item is almost due.

Materials that were already overdue as of March 17 will be showing as lost, these materials can be returned to the library using the library’s book drop located by the Ohio Street entrance.

If you are unsure about your materials due dates you can check at any time by logging in to your account and checking the Items Out section.  Here is the link for Evergreen / My Account Login:

https://evergreen.lib.in.us/eg/opac/login?redirect_to=%2Feg%2Fopac%2Fmyopac%2Fmain

  • Further Phases:

As we design the further stages of re-opening the Whiting Public Library, we’ll provide any and all services that circumstances allow.

Due to the nature of libraries as congregation spaces, our timeline for fully re-opening the buildings may look a little different from the governor’s timeline for the rest of Indiana. Governor Holcomb understands this and even made a special provision for libraries to open on their own timeline in Executive Order 20-26 (https://www.in.gov/gov/files/Executive%20Order%2020-26%20Roadmap%20to%20Reopen.pdf)

There are many things to consider when re-opening library buildings to the public: moving furniture and computers to encourage social distancing, placing clear barriers at the check-out desks to protect staff, and other retrofitting concerns to make the physical space of the library safe for all.

We’ll See You Soon! 

Thank you all for your patience and your messages of support during this time. We’re proud of the work we’ve done to continue bringing you library services while our buildings are closed, and we’re proud of all of you for continuing to make safe choices.

Stay tuned for further details on our phased re-opening.  We’ll see you again soon!