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Screenshot from HCPHES Coronavirus Map

UPDATE: Saturday, June 20, 9:15 AM CST

HCPL No-contact Curbside Holds Pick-Up will begin Monday, June 15, 2020 at all HCPL locations, except LSC-CyFair Branch Library and LSC-Tomball Community Library. See FAQ below for more information 

Interlibrary Loan Service begins Monday, June 22.

All Harris County Public Library locations will remain closed to the public at this time. 
 

Book drops at most HCPL locations will be open starting Monday, May 4, however, no late fees have been nor will be charged during the library closures. 

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. 

NOTE: Lone Star College campuses remain closed. Book drops at LSC-Cyfair and LSC-Tomball will NOT be open May 4. You may however return items check out from those libraries at any other HCPL location if you feel safe in doing so. Otherwise, please hold on to items checked out form CyFair and Tomball libraries until campuses reopen. No late fees will be charged. See the link below for information about Lone Star College closures

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

Lone Star College campuses, including LSC - CyFair Branch Library and LSC - Tomball Community Library are closed until further notice. For more information about Lone Star College response, please visit the LSC Coronavirus webpage.

Frequently Asked Questions: Library Closure

When does Curbside Pick-up resume?

HCPL No-contact Curbside Holds Pick-Up will begin Monday, June 15, 2020 at all HCPL locations, except LSC-CyFair Branch Library and LSC-Tomball Community Library.

How does Curbside Holds Pick-Up work?

Because Lone Star College campuses are closed until further notice, curbside pick-up will NOT be available at LSC-CyFair Branch Library and LSC-Tomball Community Library. All other HCPL locations will begin curbside pick-up on Tuesday, June 15.

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?

Unless noted below, HCPL Curbside Holds Pick-Up will be available

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

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

Because Lone Star College campuses remain closed until further notice, curbside pick-up is NOT available at LSC-CyFair Branch Library and LSC-Tomball Community Library.

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

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, any new holds placed after the libraries closed have been re-routed to nearby HCPL branches. LSC-CyFair Branch Library holds are being routed to Katherine Tyra Branch Library @ Bear Creek and LSC-Tomball Community Library holds are being sent to Northwest Branch Library.

Are library items safe?

All items returned to HCPL branches now undergo a 96-hour quarantine 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 July 22, all items returned to HCPL branches will undergo an additional day of quarantine. All items will now be isolated and held for 96 hours (4 days) before being circulated to the public. 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 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.  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 returned items several days ago, but My Account says they are still checked out to me. Why?

All items returned to HCPL branches undergo a 72-hour quarantine in accordance with CDC guidelines. Because of the materials quarantine, reduced staff in branches (in compliance with Harris County's Stay Home, Work Safe order), 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 have books due. What should I do?

Book drops are open at all HCPL branches except Lone Star College-CyFair Branch Library and Lone Star College-Tomball Community Library. 
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 (except LSC-CyFair and LSC-Tomball) 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.

Is HCPL offering Houston Food Bank Kids Cafe this summer?

Yes! Harris County Public Library is partnering again this summer with Houston Food Bank to offer families free nutritious meals to go. Meals will be distributed through no-contact, curbside pick-up Monday – Friday, 12:00 noon – 2:00 pm starting June 15, 2020 and running through August 1, at all HCPL locations except LSC  – CyFair Branch Library and LSC-Tomball Community Library whose campuses will remain closed throughout the summer. 

Meals are distributed for kids and teens 18 years and younger on a first-come, first-served basis while supplies last. 

Comments

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I checked out a book from the La Porte branch....Is there an after-hours book return slot on the outside of the building?

In reply to by Chandler.Husto… (not verified)

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Yes, there is a book drop. However, no overdue fines are being assessed during the building closure. 

Thank you for your question.

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These will be offered at the library that we request via the online hold system and during normal working hours? My only solace at this time is reading !

In reply to by patron_611592

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Yes, your holds will be available for pick up at your pick up location unless your library is one of the Lone Star College branches. Campuses are closed and libraries are not accessible. 

At all other HCPL branches curbside pick up is available Monday - Thursday 10 AM to 6 PM, Friday 1 PM to 6 PM, Saturday 10 AM to 5 PM

And yes, a lot of us are feeling the same way about reading. Thanks!

In reply to by patron_73316

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All at-library services have been suspended until April 30, 2020 in accordance with Harris County's Stay Home / Work Safe order.

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I have two questions. First off, I primarily use the library at Cy-Fair College. Is this library still closed? I also have books that need to be returned, they are due this week. How are you handling returns?

Ann Liner

In reply to by Ann P Liner (not verified)

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Yes. Lone Star College campuses are currently closed. The libraries are not accessible They are scheduled to reopen, Monday, April 6.  All late fees have been waived for the time

LSC-CyFair campus is now scheduled to reopen Monday, April 6. Until then customers may return checked out items to other close by HCPL locations. Below are the nearest branches.

Customers unable to return items to one of these alternate locations may hold onto the items and return them when the branch reopens. Information regarding the library's reopening will be shared as it becomes available. Any fines that accrue for the period of the branch's closure will be forgiven.

For more information about Lone Star College response, please visit the LSC Corona Virus webpage.

Thank you for your question. Stay safe!

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So if we don't pick up items that are on hold, will we lose them and have to request them all over again?

In reply to by patron_362999

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No! People who wish to pick up holds have the option to schedule an appointment to pick them up, but if you prefer not to, your holds will be at your branch when it reopens to the public.

I hope this eases your worries. Thanks for the question!

In reply to by John (not verified)

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Yes, when we reopen, you will hear about it. All branches are scheduled to reopen April 30, 2020, but, as you know, that is subject to change if conditions do not improve.

The holds will be there when we reopen and you will have one week to pick them up.

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I have a book on hold at the Tomball Library. I've called but still getting a recording advising that they're closed. According to the limited library services available mentioned above, they should be open correct? Please advise. Thank you.

In reply to by B. Vaughn (not verified)

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Lone Star College campuses are currently closed. They are scheduled to reopen, Monday, April 6. Until campuses reopen, curbside pick up and other services that require library staff will not be available at LSC-CyFair Branch Library and LSC-Tomball Community Library. For more information about Lone Star College response, please visit the LSC Corona Virus webpage.

All holds available for pick up when the library closed, will remain there and be available when the library reopens. New holds placed by Tomball library customers will be rerouted to Northwest Branch Library

Thank you and stay safe!

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It’s been several years since I used my library card. None of my information has changed except phone number. I do not recall having a PIN number. How do I find out if I have/ need to get a PIN?

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I see you will offer curbside service. How do I perform this on Saturday when picking up books? Do I simply pull into the parking lot and notify an attendant with my library card? Or will library workers set up tables on the porch area? Please explain more in detail.

In reply to by Bob Hoffman (not verified)

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Good question! Here is the procedure:

  • When you receive notification that your holds are ready for pick up
  • Call your pick up location to set an appointment for pick up. (branch phone numbers)
  • Please have your library number and PIN ready.
  • You will be given a time you can pick up your holds.
  • When you arrive at the library, remain in your vehicle and call the library.
  • Pop your trunk open, so we can place your items inside.
  • You will be asked to show your library card for verification.
  • Library staff will bring your books to your vehicle.

If you do not have a cell phone, let your branch know when you call to set your appointment. They will give you the procedure to safely pick up your holds.

NOTE: Because Lone Star College campuses are closed to the public, curbside pick up is not available at LSC-CyFair and LSC-Tomball libraries.

In reply to by Mary Bynum (not verified)

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Good question!

When you call to set an appointment to pick up your items, let library staff know your situation, they will let you know the procedure for safely picking up your holds.

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What changes are there to the ILL program? If I can pick up expected books/videos as with other holds, should I return checked-out ILL items at the same time?

In reply to by Robert Woodford (not verified)

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Good question! During the closure period only, we ask that you return items to the library from which you borrowed them using the book drop. 

Thanks for asking!

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How will this affect tax preparation Fromm AARP. Will AARP extend there service to later date dates

In reply to by Pat Fancher (not verified)

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The IRS has officially extended the filing deadline to July 15: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/payment-deadline-extended-to-july-15-2020

HCPL branches are currently scheduled to reopen April 1. We would hope that AARP Tax Aide would resume its normal schedule, but we do not have definitive information to that effect. We will update information as it becomes available. 

Thank you for your question. Stay safe.

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How does curbside pick up work?
When you receive notification that your holds are ready for pick up
Call your pick up location. (branch phone numbers)
Please have your library number and PIN ready.
You will be given a time you can pick up your holds.
When you arrive at the library, remain in your vehicle and call the library. <----------------------------------

I do not own a cell phone, so how does this procedure work with me?

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All access is blocked when will curbside start ? Getting books now is helpful. Restaurants r doing this why not the library ? Thanks

In reply to by Louis james (not verified)

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The entire Lone Star College campus is closed. Library staff does not have access to the building so they cannot offer curbside pick up.  The good news is that any new holds that are being placed by CyFair Library customers are being routed to the Katherine Tyra Branch Library @ Bear Creek. Holds that were ready for pick up when the library closed will still be there when it reopens. Bear Creek is a little farther drive, but it's the best we can offer until the library can reopen. LSC has announced that campuses will reopen April 6. 

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The entire Lone Star College campus is closed. Library staff does not have access to the building so they cannot offer curbside pick up.  The good news is that any new holds that are being placed by CyFair Library customers are being routed to the Katherine Tyra Branch Library @ Bear Creek. Holds that were ready for pick up when the library closed will still be there when it reopens. Bear Creek is a little farther drive, but it's the best we can offer until the library can reopen. LSC has announced that campuses will reopen April 6. 

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It is not clear to me whether the buildings are only closed during the "transition", or after 4/1, as well. I am in need of internet access, as well as use of Excel

In reply to by Dianne S (not verified)

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We understand your frustration. As of now (Sunday, March 22), HCPL branches are scheduled to reopen to the public on April 1. But, as you know, the situation is extremely fluid and the Covid-19 threat real. Our top priority is to keep our staff and our customers safe. If Harris County and HCPL leadership believe that we can do that on April 1, the branches will reopen. I wish I could give you a more definitive answer.

Thank you for reaching out to us. Stay safe.

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Want to get a new library card

In reply to by Karen Hurst (not verified)

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As it says in the FAQ above, you can get an iKnow Digital Access Card so that you can use all of HCPL's online content. 

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

Thanks for writing to us!

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If libraries are closed thorough April 30th but all books are due May 1st, that would only give people a day or two to return them. The library I use is a college campus library and won't be open until after May 1st. Will we still get late fees or will the deadline be extended to accommodate and to prevent a huge rush of returns?

In reply to by patron_1222521

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Throughout the process, we have ensured that no late fees will be assessed because of COVID-19-related library closures and public health measures put into place by the County and other governmental authorities. Rest assured we will continue to do so. Customers will not be expected to return items in one day after reopening. I will update the information above when we have definitive procedures. Thank you for bringing the need to update this information to our attention

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When are book sales scheduled to start again for HCPL

In reply to by Scott Love (not verified)

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We do not yet have a definitive date for Friends of the Libary book sales to resume. We are formulating, with input from the County Judge and Harris County Commissioners, a plan for the libraries to resume services. Book sales will resume once those procedures are in place. Thank you for your interest.

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Will HCPL be open May 1st? What capacity - doors open or just curbside pickup? Thanks!

In reply to by TB (not verified)

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Library and Harris County leadership are currently formulating plans, but we are not yet ready to make them public. We are asking that you please be patient. The safety of our customers and staff is our top priority and we want to make sure that we move forward in a deliberate manner. We will announce plans as soon as they are finalized here on the website and through social media. We can't wait to get back and see all of you. Thank you for your support and your patience.

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When will we be allowed to submit interlibrary loan requests please? thx

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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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