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In-Person Browsing Guidelines

Guidelines for Visiting the Library During Elevated Service Levels

When the pandemic is over, the renovated library will be a fantastic place to work, study, gather, read, explore, and be creative. We are eager for that day to arrive, but it is not here yet.

Until then, the library will operate under one of four levels of service, Blue through Red.  These levels are based on Pulaski County’s status on the ISDH color-coded COVID-19 map.  See our current service level on our homepage, and learn more about the different levels here:

During Blue, Yellow, and Orange service levels, in-person browsing at the library will be allowed with certain limitations.

Things will feel different from your pre-pandemic library visits. We've created the following guidelines to help you understand what to expect from your visit.

Patron Safety Procedures

If you come to the Library for one of the services listed below, you will need to follow our safety procedures. We may ask you to leave if you do not adhere to these guidelines. If you need special accommodations, please call (574) 946-3432 to discuss the available options.

  • All patrons over 2 years of age must wear a mask that fully covers your mouth and nose at all times.  If you do not have a mask when you arrive, we will be happy to give one to you.
  • The number of people allowed in the building at any one time is limited.
  • Whenever possible, only one person from your household should visit at a time.
  • Please maintain at least a 6-foot distance from others at all times.  Our staff will maintain a 6-foot distance from you.
  • Only one person or family will be allowed to use the elevator at a time.
  • Hand sanitizer will be available, and we encourage you to use it.
  • Please follow all instructions given to you by our staff.
  • If you or anyone in your home is not feeling well, please do not visit the Library.

It's been a long time since we've seen you—and we've missed you! As much as we would like to shake your hand or accept the hug you're offering, this is not a practice we are comfortable with.  Please know under our masks, we are as happy to see you back at the Library as you are to be back.

Browsing and Checking Out

When you come for your visit, please use the “back” (east) door of the library – the one facing the main parking lot.  An accessible ramp has been installed and can be used at this entrance.

A greeter will meet you at the door to welcome you into the facility.

Please limit your browsing to the time interval specified by the library’s current service level (15 or 30 minutes).

Patrons and staff should maintain physical distancing. Plexiglas barriers have been placed at service desks, and public seating options have been limited.

Please note that due to construction, many items are still in storage. You may not find precisely what you're looking for, but we are here to help. Our staff will use the resources of neighboring libraries to fulfill outstanding requests as we are able.

Checking out materials will be done using the self-checkout station. This consists of scanning your library card, then scanning your library books.  To limit contact, our staff cannot check things out for you during your visit.

If you know you want a particular item or items, please place a reserve for curbside delivery instead of coming in to browse.  This will help us stay under our capacity limits and maintain a safe environment for patrons and staff.  Learn more about curbside pickup here:

DVDs are unavailable for browsing but can be reserved for curbside pickup or requested at the circulation desk. Magazines are also unavailable for browsing but are able to be reserved for curbside pickup.  Print newspapers are unavailable at this time.

Returning Items

To return your items, please utilize the outside book drops in the front or back of the library.  The book drops at the back of the Library are touchless.  Due to our quarantine process, we are unable to accept book returns at the circulation desk.

For everyone's safety, we cannot touch returned items for several days. All returned items will be placed in a secure area for at least 72 hours before we can process them as returned. Please allow up to one week for these items to come off of your account.  Any late fees will be based on the day the item is placed in the book drop; you will not be charged for the days that the item is in quarantine.

Donations are prohibited at this time. Any non-library items placed in the book drop will be disposed of.

Visits with Children

Children under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or caregiver aged 18 or older when visiting the library.

Due to ongoing construction in the back section of the building, the children’s area is unavailable for browsing.  We have made a selection of children’s books available for browsing in the front of the building.

While we enjoy having children at the library and believe that the library is a great place for kids to learn, play, and grow, their safety is of utmost concern to us. From younger children touching and putting things in their mouths to older children wanting to congregate in close proximity, unattended children pose several challenges to maintaining a safe environment.  Library staff is unable to supervise unattended children to ensure that appropriate safety measures are being followed. Children who wish to browse for books or use the computer are welcome to visit with an adult.

Public Restrooms

Due to ongoing construction in the back section of the building, restrooms will not be available during your visit.

Computer Usage

As of February 2021, the library computer lab is under construction. When the lab is available, a limited number of physically distanced computers will be available for use. Time in the computer lab will be limited to the general browsing time limit of the library’s current service level (15 or 30 minutes). Library patrons may use the computer lab for no more than one time interval in the morning and one interval in the afternoon; these intervals cannot be directly back-to-back.

Weather permitting, a walk-up computer station is available during regular library hours, outside the front of the library. Printing is available from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Public Meetings and In-Person Programs

Unfortunately, meeting spaces will not be available for group meetings until a later date. And while we can't do in-person programming right now the way we used to—we are still doing programming! Visit the library website and follow the Library on Facebook for online programming opportunities and library news.

Addtional Information

Are my books safe?

As libraries and museums around the country considered resuming operations and reopening to the public, they recognized the need for clear information on best, safe practices. The Institute of Museum and Library Services joined with other industry leaders to conduct medical research on how long the COVID-19 virus survives on materials prevalent in libraries, archives, and museums. This study is called the Reopening Archives, Libraries, and Museums (REALM) project.  Our team has been following the project's results and have based our safety protocols on their findings.

We place all returned items in a secure area for at least 72 hours before we process them and check them in.  Books are not placed back on the shelves until they have gone through this waiting period.

We ask that book pages not be sprayed, wiped, or otherwise made wet, as that would damage the book. You are free to use a disinfectant wipe on the plastic book cover and "quarantine" your books before use.

Staff Safety Procedures
  • Library staff are required to wear face masks at all times while in the library building.
  • Employee Health Screening: Library staff are asked to take their temperatures before each work shift and not report to work if they have a fever of 100.4 degrees or higher.
  • Staff who are experiencing a fever or other CDC-recognized symptoms of COVID-19 are asked to remain at home and contact their health provider.
  • Upon arriving at work, staff are instructed to wash their hands for 20 seconds or use sanitizer when a sink is not available.

The Library Board of Trustees and Executive Director have worked diligently to develop a procedure to protect the staff, equipment, and library services during this time. Providing a safe environment is our top priority. We are working with the local health department, local hospital leadership, and following CDC best practices.

All staff members have received training on COVID-19 safety and sanitation protocols, with more comprehensive training taking place as needed. Proper hygiene and frequent handwashing are vital in helping to combat the spread of the virus. With this in mind, the Library has installed a handwashing sink at our circulation desk to allow staff another handwashing option. All staff members have received personal protective equipment and are following the latest expert guidance from the CDC. The Executive Director provides regular communication with staff on expectations and provides additional COVID-19 training opportunities.

See a full list of our staff's safety procedures here:

Cleaning Products and Protocols

The Library will use cleaning products and protocols that meet CDC/EPA guidelines and are approved for use and effective against viruses, bacteria, and other airborne pathogens. We have worked closely with vendors, distribution partners, and suppliers to procure these resources. The frequency of cleaning and sanitization is increased in high-traffic areas, emphasizing service points, and shared equipment.

Getting Help

We know that this is a confusing time and that these are new expectations for using the Library.  If our opening times do not work for you, let's figure it out together!  We are willing to schedule visits by appointment as requested, subject to staff availability and any ongoing construction.  Give us a call Monday – Friday 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. at (574) 946-3432, or send us an email

Much of the information on this page comes from our reopening guidance document.  You can view the document here: Reopening PCPL 2020-02-01

Page created 12-9-20. Updated 2-5-21.