Our plan to reintroduce services, reopen buildings

We are here for you, and we are in this together

As we respond to the latest information and guidelines from local and national officials around the COVID-19 virus, we want to make sure you have the latest information about your library, too. Because updates and best practices are ever-evolving, please revisit this page, oppl.org/covid19 and the library’s social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) for the most current information.

About connecting with us

Following both the state’s extended stay-at-home order and the introduction of Restore Illinois, all three library buildings remain closed to the public until further notice. Your digital library remains open.

We are working remotely, answering your questions as quickly as we can. Call us at 708.383.8200 and leave a message. Or ask us via oppl.org/contact. A library staff manager will respond as soon as possible.

Where can I find crisis resources and support? Contact our Social Services and Public Safety team »

About our plan: putting people and safety first

To help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and to continue to serve our community, the library’s current version of its plan to reintroduce services and reopen buildings, approved by the Board of Library Trustees at its April 28 meeting, will continue to evolve as conditions change. Read the updated plan now »

Our decisions will continue to be made following orders and recommendations from the state, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Oak Park Public Health authorities.

Which today means, at the earliest, staff work inside library spaces to prepare for limited public access would begin on Monday, June 1.

Always starting by asking: are we able to do this safely?

This is the first question that will continue to guide our thinking, our decisions, and our actions as we begin to move into deeper discussion and implementation throughout May. And as summer continues and the threat of local infections diminishes, more library services and public space use will be reintroduced. Along the way, decisions about when will be made following orders and recommendations from Oak Park Public Health authorities, the state of Illinois, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Using a service-level approach

In short, we know a return to all public spaces and all services will not be immediate. Putting the health, safety, and well-being of our community, our patrons, and our library staff first, we plan to reintroduce services following a carefully planned and research-informed approach.

For example, initially we expect to offer materials pickup by reservation only at the Main Library. Then we expect to accept returns of materials gradually, as items will be quarantined before they are checked in. Dole and Maze branches will remain closed. No in-person public gatherings or meeting spaces will be immediately available per Oak Park’s order prohibiting local public events through June. In-person library events will remain cancelled through August.

About physical library items

Will you offer pickup of reserved materials? We are planning to offer pickup of reserved physical books, movies, and music. We have not yet set that exact date. Since the earliest staff will return to the Main Library to prepare spaces and materials, we do know that date will be after June 1. More details about this process are in development, and will be announced soon.

Can I still place holds on physical items? Yes. Through the catalog, you can still place holds on Oak Park items to be picked up at the Main Library only. Those holds will remain in a queue, and you will be notified when your item is ready for pickup. When delivery between SWAN libraries is fully restored, you will be able to resume placing holds on other libraries’ items.

Can I return materials? Not yet. At this time all internal and outside book drops remain sealed, and we are not collecting and emptying book drops. We ask that you please hold on to your materials until we announce returns are possible. It is important to know that there is no confirmed timeline yet for our regional library system (RAILS) to begin to share SWAN and non-SWAN materials again between libraries. All SWAN due dates will continue to be extended as needed. Currently, SWAN due dates are set as July 31. And remember, there are no late fines for Oak Park items. More details about returning items will be shared in June.

Can I create a list of titles without placing holds? Yes. When logged into your library account, you can add titles you want to remember to “My Lists.” Find instructions from SWAN here »

Will I be charged overdue fines for non-Oak Park materials? For now, due dates for all SWAN library materials have been extended as needed. SWAN is a consortium of nearly 100 west suburban libraries, and when it comes to late fines, the lending library’s rules apply. It can be confusing, so if you have questions, please contact us.

Can I make an interlibrary loan request? Yes! But only online article requests may be fulfilled at this time. Please note, however, that most university and public libraries have temporarily stopped filling all interlibrary loan requests, and therefore we may not be able to obtain your articles at this time. Any requests for physical materials will be postponed until the library reopens. Visit oppl.org/requests »

Can I drop off book donations? Not yet. Please keep your materials donations (books, DVDs, CDs), as we cannot accept any at any library location right now.

How is the library handling materials during this time? We are not. There is no borrowing or lending of any physical materials while the state’s stay-at-home order is in place and building closures continue.

Before opening again to the public, how will the library handle the cleaning of public spaces and the quarantine of returned materials? We plan to follow guidelines set by the CDC, the library industry’s best practices, and the Oak Park Department of Public Health. We are also hopeful about an important partnership among the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), OCLC Inc., and Batelle. Read more about that research »

About summer reading, in-person events, meetings, and community visits

Is the library hosting in-person events? No, not through August. Library virtual programs continue to be added to this webpage and to oppl.org/calendar (which if you are on mobile, select either “Offsite” or “All locations” to see all virtual programs.)

Will the library host summer reading? Yes! With all library in-person events canceled through August, both summer reading programs, for kids and for adults and teens, will happen online and launch June 1. We will be sharing more details throughout May. So stay tuned!

Can I make new in-person meeting or study room reservations? Not yet. With circumstances changing daily, we are not accepting in-person meeting or study room reservations. For meetings online, we are developing a new virtual service that uses library technology and library staff support to help you host community meetings. More about this new service is coming soon.

Is the library making outreach visits? Not right now. We are not making any visits or deliveries anywhere, including to homes, daycares, or senior centers, but we are staying connected, conducting virtual visits, and sharing new video content daily at 10 am weekdays for young kids and families.

About Oak Park’s digital library

What if I do not have an Oak Park card yet? Can I get one? Yes! All Oak Park residents who do not yet have a library card can get instant digital access »

My Oak Park account is blocked. What can I do? Contact us and we will work with you.

What if I can’t find or forgot my library card account number (barcode)? Click on this SWAN link, then enter your last name and birthdate. You should receive an email (at the email address associated with your account) with your barcode. If you do not have an email associated with your account, contact us and we can help remotely.

Can you help me reset my PIN? Yes! You can reset your PIN from anywhere, anytime. Enter your library card number and click “Forgot My PIN” on this page. You can also contact us.

What is the digital library? Oak Park cardholders have anywhere, anytime access to massive amounts of growing virtual content. Read, watch, listen, find, learn, and research. Let’s get started »

Hoopla question: I’m trying to stream and download, but I get an error message. What do I need to do? Add your PIN. Hoopla recently required all users to provide their library Personal Identification Number (PIN) to borrow and stream. How to add your PIN to your Hoopla account »

I have another question and want to speak to someone

Please contact us! We continue working remotely, answering your questions as quickly as we can. Call us at 708.383.8200 and leave a message. Or ask us via oppl.org/contact. A library staff member will respond as soon as possible.

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