Last updated June 30, 2020
Westchester Library System (WLS) continues to work with libraries to develop plans and implement expanded services in ways that provide the best protection for library staff and patrons. No one plan fits all because Westchester libraries range from dense urban centers to suburban and rural settings. Each library is making decisions based on the specific needs of its community, situations at its location, information about local infection rates, and recommendations from local and state health organizations. Please contact your local library for specifics about timing and service options.
Most WLS libraries are taking a phased approach to expanding services.
- NEW: Most WLS libraries are returning to regular hold-filling on Wednesday, July 1. While materials are available from most libraries, patrons are still advised to contact their local library and pickup library for information about current services, pickup options, and hours.
- Libraries continue to offer digital content, online research options, and educational platforms and an abundance of virtual services.
- Most library book drops are open so that you can return materials.
- Since public libraries are currently permitted to operate with restrictions statewide, most WLS libraries are preparing for, and several have begun, contactless pickup through curbside or walkup options to provide safe access to physical materials. Library buildings remain closed to the public.
We ask for your continued patience and understanding as we move forward in keeping with state and county guidelines for reopening library buildings and expanding the system-wide services.
Thank you for your continued support of libraries and we look forward to providing you even more access to materials in the future.
When will Westchester Library locations again be open to the public?
Library buildings are beginning to reopen to the public. Since there is no 100 percent protection against the risk of infection aside from self-isolation, plans for safe on-site access continue in each community. Many WLS libraries have begun and others are planning contactless pickup through curbside or walkup options to provide safe access to physical materials.
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? Most locations have book drops open, please check with your local 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 were checked out prior to closures. 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.