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Screenshot from HCPHES Coronavirus Map

UPDATE: Wednesday Oct 14, 2020 - 9:20 AM CST

All Harris County Public Library locations will remain closed to the public at this time. We know this long closure has been hard on many of our library users who rely on in-library services that are currently unavailable. We are grateful for your patience and understanding. We have worked hard formulating plans and protocols for a phased re-opening that will ensure the safety of patrons and staff. We will begin to implement those when it is determined we may do so safely. But, because Harris County’s Covid-19 threat level remains high, we are unable to provide a timeline for re-opening at this time. We will continue to keep you updated as the situation evolves, both here and on social media.

HCPL No-contact Curbside Holds Pick-Up is now available at ALL HCPL branches. See FAQ below for more information 

Starting Monday, May 4, you may return library materials to the exterior book drops at most HCPL locations, but, we urge you to continue to maintain social distancing and other public health guidelines. You will not be charged late fees. Please do not leave items outside the library. 

Harris County Public Library will continue to offer a wide array of online services:

  • Use HCPL Wi-Fi service while maintaining social distancing with HCPL's Drive-up Wi-Fi
  • Download ebooks and audiobooks, stream movies, research and learn at www.hcpl.net
  • Attend an HCPL program or story time online through Facebook or YouTube 
  • Check your account to renew loans or request books 
  • eBooks, comics or graphic novels through OverDrive 
  • Stream classic films, indie cinema, and award-winning documentaries on Kanopy 
  • Listen to audiobooks through RBDigital or OverDrive 
  • Read along and play with picture books on TumbleBooks 
  • Ask us a question via chat on Ask a Librarian
  • Get book recommendations via Book Hunters

If you do not have an HCPL library card, you can get instant access to all HCPL's digital materials including ebooks, streaming movies and research tools with an iKnow Digital Access Card. Apply HERE.

Frequently Asked Questions: Library Closure

When does Curbside Pick-up resume?

UPDATE: As of Tuesday, September 8, 2020, all HCPL branches, including LSC-CyFair Branch Library and LSC-Tomball Community Library, offer Contactless Curbside Holds Pick-Up.

How does Curbside Holds Pick-Up work?

Here's how it works:

  • When you receive notification that your holds are ready for pick-up, call your HCPL pick-up location (Branch phone numbers)
  • Please have your library card number and PIN handy.
  • You will be given a pick-up time and instructions for curbside pick-up (These may vary slightly from branch to branch).
  • When you arrive at the library, follow the instructions you were provided over the phone.
  • You may be asked to show your library card or other form of ID for verification

Note: Library staff will not be able to take your returns during curbside pick-up, please put them in the book drop.

For your safety and that of HCPL staff, curbside pick-up may be temporarily suspended during bad weather.

What are the hours for Curbside Holds Pick-Up?

Curbside Holds Pick-Up will be available at most HCPL locations

Monday - Thursday 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Friday 1:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Saturday 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Sunday CLOSED

Baldwin Boettcher Branch Library @ Mercer Park curbside pick-up hours: 
Monday - Saturday 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Sunday CLOSED

LSC-CyFair Branch Library
Monday - Thursday 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Friday - Saturday 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Sunday CLOSED

LSC-Tomball Community Library
Monday - Thursday 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Friday 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Saturday  10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Sunday CLOSED

My usual hold pick-up location is on a Lone Star College Campus. What happens to my holds?

UPDATE: 9/8/2020: While any holds that became available before the closures but had not yet been picked up will remain on the hold shelf for 7 library days after the libraries re-open for curbside pick-up service. During Lone Star College campuses extended closures, new holds were rerouted to nearby HCPL branches. As of September 8, 2020, holds for Lone Star College CyFair and Tomball libraries can be picked up at those locations. See hours of operation and procedures above.

Are library items safe?

UPDATE: As of September 8, 2020. the quarantine period for all items returned to HCPL branches is 7 days based on CDC guidelines and the latest REALM Project findings.

I returned items several days ago, but My Account says they are still checked out. Why?

UPDATE: Based on the latest findings, as of September 8, 2020, all items returned to HCPL branches will undergo an additional three days of quarantine. All items will now be isolated and held for 7 days before being returned to circulation. Because of the materials quarantine, reduced staff in branches, and a large backlog of returned items, your checkouts may remain on your account longer than you are accustomed to. Please, keep in mind, no late fees have been, nor will be, assessed during the library closures.

I am staying in a different part of the County because of Stay Home, Work Safe. Is there a way to change my holds pick-up location?

You can edit your preferred pick-up location to another HCPL branch so that you can take advantage of curbside pick-up when it resumes on Monday, June 15.

Instructions for changing your preferred pick-up location: (HCPL Locations)

  • Log in to www.hcpl.net using your library card number and PIN.
  • Click on the My Account button at the upper right
  • Select My Profile in the menu on the left of My Account page
  • Click on Preferences
  • Select your new preferred location from the Preferred pick-up library
  • Click on the Save changes button.

I had holds ready for pick up when the library closed. Will I lose my place in the queue and have to place another hold?

No!  Your holds will be kept on the shelf at your branch for 7 days after the library begins curbside pick-up on June 15.  In addition, you can place new holds online during the closure and they will be processed when libraries reopen.

I had items on hold when curbside pick-up service was postponed. What happens to those?

When the library resumes curbside holds pick-up, you will have 7 days to stop by and pick them up. 

I have books due. What should I do?

Book drops are open at all HCPL branches. 
You can return all HCPL items to book drops at any branch no matter from which library they were checked out. Please do not leave library materials outside of the library. 

No late charges will be charged during the library closures.

I don’t have an HCPL Library Card but would like to download eBooks and stream movies. Can I get one?

Yes! Apply for an HCPL iKnow Digital Access Card HERE

Then visit our Digital Media Page, to learn how to start reading and streaming and a whole lot more

The checkout period is 14 days with up to 2 renewals. See Borrowing FAQ for complete details

Can I place an Interlibrary Loan request during the time that the library is closed?

We are delighted to announce that you may place ILL requests starting Monday, June 22, 2020.

I have an Interlibrary Loan book that is due. What should I do?

Update: All HCPL branch libraries have now reopened their book drops. While under normal circumstances returning ILL items to book drops is not allowed, during the closures you may return ILL items using the book drop. You will not be assessed late fees for ILL items that came due during the closures. 

I have books I want to donate. Can I drop them off at the library?

We ask that you do not bring book donations to our branches. Please hold onto them until the library resumes full services.

Comments

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Because we are still at very limited staffing and most libraries across the country are in the same situation, we are unable to provide a date when we will resume our interlibrary loan service. We will update website when that information becomes available. Thank you for your question.

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I tried to register for a library card, but when I put my email. It states its invalid. I tried 3 different emails and it all states invalid. What else should I do?
TIA

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I'm sorry for the delay and that you are having issues registering for a library card. I will be happy to help you with this, but I will need more information. To protect your privacy, please send the following information to [email protected]:

Which library card form were you using (if you can include the url link it would be helpful)

What was the email address you were trying to enter?



 

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When will requests for interlibrary loans be accepted in the ILL system please?
Thanks,
jb

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I have requested a book be held for me, the West U library shows the book available, the system shows I am #1 on the list....but I am still in "pending" mode....how long will it take to move to "hold is ready" and when will I be notified???

In reply to by John Coyne (not verified)

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All items returned to HCPL branches undergo a 72 hour quarantine. Once that quarantine is completed, library staff will make the item available and you will receive notification that you can pick up your hold.

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How long are books being quarantined after they are returned?

In reply to by 🤨 (not verified)

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All materials that are returned to HCPL locations undergo a 72 hour quarantine period which is the recommendation of the Centers for Disease Control.

UPDATE: In accordance with new findings, HCPL has increased the returned materials quarantine period form 72 to 96 hours.

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I usually check books out from Cy-Fair, and have had these books since early spring. Will I still be notified when the library reopens? Will it be in an email? What happens if I don't get notified? Do I still go ahead and return my books and will they be forgiven?

In reply to by Iris (not verified)

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No late fees will be assessed for items checked out before the Covid-related closures. You can however return items to any Harris County Public Library location even if they were checked out at another branch. But if you are unable to do that. you can hold on to them until CyFair reopens. We cannot guarantee that you will get a personal notification when the library reopens, but it will certainly be announced here, and on HCPL's social media pages. Thank you for reaching out to us.

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I have a $0.40 fine on my account.  Will I be able to check out books during the COVID crisis?

In reply to by patron_1489824

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You have nothing to worry about. Only if fines exceed $25.00 (roughly 62 times your current level) will HCPL temporarily suspend borrowing privileges until fees are paid down below $25.00. In other words, customers do not necessarily have pay off all their fines at once. They can pay just enough to get below the $25 limit in order for full borrowing privileges to be restored. But, as I said, you have nothing to worry about.

I hope this eases your mind. 

Happy reading!

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Since the libraries are currently closed, is there an ability to replace my lost library card? I would like to check out some books for curb-side pick-up (I'd rather not do the ebook option), and I know my library card number, so I'm able to log in to my account and make the requests. Is the actual card needed for the curbside pick-up?

In reply to by Chelly (not verified)

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If you know your library card number and PIN, you can place holds online for pick up. You do not have to present your physical library card for curbside pick up. Any valid form of identification will work.

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