Last updated May 19, 2020
When will Westchester Library locations again be open to the public?
All of us at Westchester Library System (WLS) are looking forward to the day that we can provide more access to the physical collections that are available at our 38 member libraries. We are working with them as they consider traditional and newer options like curbside pickup for safe access to physical materials. While WLS supports coordinated efforts, each library makes independent decisions about timing and service options. Please contact your local library for specifics. We ask for your patience and understanding as we work within the New York State guidelines for reopening the library buildings and expanding the system-wide services.
The public libraries are currently included in Phase 4 of the statewide reopening plan and that means we are only allowed to provide virtual/digital services at this time. Once our region is eligible for Phase 4, WLS and the 38 member libraries can move forward to provide access to the physical collections.
Thank you for your continued support of the libraries and we look forward to providing you even more access to materials in the future.
What can I expect from WLS?
Here’s an overview of what is available – and not available – to library cardholders and patrons at this time:
Ready to return items? Unfortunately at this time all library locations are closed. However, some locations have book drops open, please check with your library.
Use your library remotely! Stream and download books, audiobooks, comics, magazines, music, and videos. Use our databases to conduct research, access ample resources for kids and teens, and more from your couch.
Checked out items: Due dates have been extended until June for all physical library materials that are currently checked out. Check your account in the online catalog for specific due dates.
Fines & Fees: With extended due dates, libraries are not adding overdue fines and fees for items held during closures. After its building reopens, check with your local library for possible amnesty and fine forgiveness information.
OverDrive: Since more of our patrons are using WLS digital resources online, cardholders can have 10 checkouts for a total of 14 days each; the holds limit remains at a total of 10. Some digital checkouts can be returned early so others have opportunity for access.
Library card signup: Register online and start using your card immediately! If you sign up online during this time, your temporary account will be available for 6 months, giving you immediate access to OverDrive and other digital resources from home.
Account expirations & renewals: Library card/account expirations will be extended, including accounts that expired in the past 24 months.
Interlibrary loans: All are temporarily suspended, and requests will be put in a queue. Current due dates have been extended until WLS reopens. While this change won’t be reflected in accounts, you will not be penalized for keeping these materials.
WiFi access: All Westchester Library locations continue to provide open WiFi access, which may be available outside of their buildings.
Please don’t forget – Our libraries are still here for you virtually! Libraries continue to take your questions by phone, live chat, and email. They’re also providing and expanding virtual services and programs, along with their digital collection. And, WLS is working with community organizations, school districts, and other partners to support Westchester County residents with many different needs during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
Have questions about COVID-19?
We understand that people may be concerned about COVID-19 and how it may affect them. The Senior Benefits Individual Counseling wiki has a page with resources and information on Coronavirus.
What should I do?
To help stop the spread of germs and any contagious illness, local and national public health experts recommend that everyone should take everyday preventive actions and practice good hygiene. Here are some tips specific to the COVID-19 pandemic:
- Put distance between yourself and other people; at least 6 feet apart.
- Stay home if you’re sick.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover whenever in public settings, such as grocery stores, pharmacies, medical facilities, hiking trails, etc.
- Frequently and thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer, if you cannot wash your hands.
- Keep your hands away from your eyes, nose, and mouth; avoid touching with unwashed hands.
- Cover your mouth with tissue when coughing or sneezing, and then properly wash your hands.
- Clean surfaces and personal items, such as cell phones, using household disinfecting products.