The Board of Trustees of the Park Ridge Public Library is planning for the lending of physical materials via contact-free pickup as the State of Illinois’ Restore Illinois plan moves toward Phase 3. The staff at the Park Ridge Public Library is busy preparing collections, technology, and sorting previously returned books and other materials in the facility in order to begin phasing in contact-free pickup services for the public within 3 days of the Governor’s announcement that the state has entered Phase 3. Library Director Heidi Smith reported that based on recent information from Governor Pritzker, the staff are gearing up for a June 1 start date. If needed, the Board will discuss current conditions and evaluate next steps in early June.
“The Library has helped to slow the spread of COVID-19 by boosting virtual services to support community needs while we evaluate guidance on the safe handling of library materials and then create appropriate systems, training, and tools,” said Library Directory Heidi Smith. “Every year, over 700,000 Park Ridge library books and materials circulate in and out of our homes; we have to get this right for the health and safety of our staff and community, and we are doing our utmost so we can move forward confidently. The safety of our patrons and staff is our highest priority, and we are excited to provide more of the Library services you depend on in the safest manner possible.”
Since closing to the public March 14, the Library has enhanced virtual services and programs to meet the needs of the community as much as possible. Guided by the Governor’s Restore Illinois 5-phase plan, the team is working on the safest way to get books and other materials to patrons via contact-free services. Though a limited number of staff is working in the building to prepare, the Library building will remain closed to the public per the state of Illinois shelter-in-place order. Use of virtual library services has increased, and necessary staff to support them will continue to do so from home.
The Library’s actions are guided by available science and information from health and infectious disease experts, Executive Orders from the Office of Governor Pritzker, and the American Library Association.
Patrons are encouraged to place books, movies and more on hold now using the online catalog available at www.parkridgelibrary.org, or by contacting Library staff. Library staff can be reached via live chat on the Library website or via phone every day from Noon until 6 p.m. at 847-825-3123. Patrons who had books on hold prior to the March 13 closing can still pick up those books. An option to suspend a hold is also available through our Patron Services department if a patron prefers to wait to pick it up when the Library opens to the public. Patron Services can also be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Returning Library Materials
Returned materials are not being accepted at this time. All due dates have been extended and no fines have accrued during the closure. The Library will share more information as it becomes available about how and when Library materials can be returned.
Virtual Library Open 24/7
The building is closed, but the Library is still open. Several Library programs continue to be adapted to a virtual format using Zoom and YouTube Live, with an option to call in to the Zoom video programs via phone. Librarians in the Youth Services department are hosting morning, afternoon and evening Storytime options throughout the month and hosting new programs like Kids Kitchen for ages 10 and up, and old favorites like Book Bites for middle schoolers. Information about all virtual programs can be found at parkridgelibrary.libcal.com.
Obtaining a Library Card
Park Ridge residents can apply for a library card through an online form at www.parkridgelibrary.org/library-card-application/. A library team member will email a library card number and pin so that will allow the cardholder access to online resources and their account. Questions regarding a library account can be sent to our Patron Services team at email@example.com.
While the stay-at-home order is in place, the Library encourages everyone in the community to stay home and continue to follow the recommendations of public health officials.
For questions pertaining to the COVID-19 crisis, patrons are encouraged to refer to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Illinois Department of Public Health, the Cook County Department of Public Health, and the City of Park Ridge for the latest information. Links to all of these sites can be found at www.parkridge.info.