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COVID-19 and LCPL

LCPL is monitoring the development of COVID-19 in Indiana and adjusting services accordingly. We have been in communication with the Lake County Health Department and are monitoring updates from the Indiana Department of Health and the CDC. We are working to offer you as much library service as possible while maintaining your safety and the safety of our staff.

UPDATE 11/23/21: 

Covid-19 Vaccine Booster Shot Info

UPDATE 10/28/21:

COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Shot Info

UPDATE 8/4/21:

Meeting rooms available for approved groups

UPDATE 7/1/21:

Study rooms now available

UPDATE 6/24/21:

Employee Safety Resolution (supersedes 2020 Mask Resolution)

UPDATE 6/11/21:

Do I have to wear a face mask in the library?

See previous updates:

UPDATE 5/24/21:

Overdue fines will resume June 1. Kids' books will remain fine free.

UPDATE 4/30/21:

Summer reading will run from June 1 to July 31

UPDATE 3/29/21:

Ages 16 and older are now eligible for vaccination.

UPDATE 3/29/21:

Ages 30 and older are now eligible for vaccination. Ages 16+ will be eligible starting March 31.

UPDATE 3/22/21:

Ages 40 and older are now eligible for vaccination

UPDATE 3/16/21:

Ages 45 and older are now eligible for vaccination

UPDATE 3/4/21:

Teachers are now eligible for vaccination 

UPDATE 3/3/21:

Ages 50 and older are now eligible for vaccination

UPDATE 3/2/21:

Ages 55 and older and those with certain conditions are now eligible for vaccination

UPDATE 2/23/21:

Ages 60 and older are now eligible for vaccination

UPDATE 1/15/21:

Lake County Health Department seeking volunteers

UPDATE 1/13/21:

What's the deal with this vaccine?

UPDATE 1/8/21:

Hours and services are subject to change based on staff availability. You can always see the most current hours here.

UPDATE 11/9/20:

CDC released guidelines on visiting libraries safely!

UPDATE: 10/19/20: 

Walk-in hours are available! 

UPDATE 10/7/20:

Walk-in hours will be posted soon. Watch this page for updates.

UPDATE 9/16/20:

Overdue Fines are Paused

UPDATE 7/30/20:

Letter to School Boards: How LCPL can Support Schools

UPDATE 7/20/20:

Grab & Go appointments are now available at all locations!
Learn more

UPDATE 7/13/20:

Computer appointments are now available at all locations!
Learn more

UPDATE 7/6/20:

Grab & Go appointments now available at more branches
Learn more

UPDATE 6/29/20:

Computer appointments now available at more branches.
Grab & Go appointments now available at Merrillville Branch.
Learn more

UPDATE 6/24/20:

Remote printing now available! Send a print and pick up at curbside.

UPDATE 6/19/20:

Computer appointments at Merrillville Branch begin June 29

UPDATE 6/16/20:

Updated Reinstatement of Services Plan (Appointment-based browsing will now be available in an earlier phase!)

Added How Do I Pay a Fine?

UPDATE 6/15/20:

Computer use appointments coming soon!

UPDATE 6/2/20:

Book drops are now open for all item returns!

UPDATE 6/1/20:

Our plan for the reinstatement of library services

UPDATE 5/26/20:

Special item return exception for people who have checked out the max number of items (No longer relevant as book drops are now open for all items)

UPDATE 5/23/20:

Curbside pickup will officially begin 5/27/20

UPDATE 5/15/20:
When are my items due? (minor updates 5/20/20)
What about Imagination Library?

UPDATE 5/8/20:
Outdoor WiFi Now Available (minor updates 5/22/20)

UPDATE 5/7/20:
How is the library ensuring a safe environment?

UPDATE 5/4/20:
When is the library re-opening? (minor updates to item returns 5/15/20, 5/20/20)
Are library materials safe to borrow? (minor updates 5/13/20)
Is Summer Reading happening this year?

UPDATE 4/4/20: Update to the CDC's guidelines on face masks

UPDATE 3/31/20:
How to use the library while we are closed (minor updates 4/2/2020, 4/20/2020, 5/8/20)
Should the building closures continue, due dates will be adjusted accordingly. No items will be due while our buildings are closed.

UPDATE 3/17/20: Please do not return your items or attempt to circumvent the locks on the book drops. All due dates have been changed; nothing is due while we are closed! (Update 3/31/20: Due dates were originally set to April 15; however, these will be updated accordingly as building closures continue.)

UPDATE 3/16/20: The library will close at 5 PM on 3/16/20 and remain closed until further notice.

 

Here are a few things to know about COVID-19 and Lake County Public Library:

Where can I get accurate information on the spread of COVID-19?

There is a great deal of misinformation out there on COVID-19. All information in this FAQ has been vetted to library standards.

For further accurate, unbiased information we recommend:

The CDC's COVID-19 FAQ 

The Indiana Department of Health COVID-19 Information Page (includes a sign-up for email updates)

What's the deal with this vaccine?A blue bandaid with a darker blue silhouette of Indiana and text reading It's Our Shot, Hoosiers

The COVID-19 vaccine is now available to ages 5+ in Indiana!

Vaccine booster shots are also available to ages 18+. Check the CDC's booster shot info page for up to date details. 

The best place to get up-to-date vaccine information and answers is ourshot.in.gov. You can also call 211* any time from 7 AM to 7 PM, 7 days a week.

You can make your appointment here or by calling 211. Getting vaccinated is free!

The most important thing to know is that the vaccine has undergone extensive testing and is safe for general use.

However, if you have a history of allergic reactions to injections read the CDC's guidance on vaccines and allergic reactions or talk with your doctor before making a vaccination appointment. 

Have more questions? Find all the answers by calling 211* or by visiting ourshot.in.gov

* If 211 doesn't work on your phone, dial 1-866-211-9966.

When are my items due? When can I return them?

a blue book with an arrow on it indicating return You can check your item due dates any time by logging into your account and looking at the Items Out section.

The book drops are now open for the return of all items! You do not have to wait until your due date to return items.

How do I pay a fine?

Fines over $5 can be paid online by credit card. Just log into your account to get started. 

If you prefer not to use a credit card (or if your fine is under $5) you can pay in person using cash at any branch (see branch hours and locations) or mail us a check.

Checks should be sent to Merrillville Branch (1919 W. 81st Ave, Merrillville, IN 46410). Make the check out to Lake County Public Library and include your library card number in the comment section, or enclose a note saying which library card or cards it's for. 

Note that having a fine under $5 on your account will not prevent you from using library services!

Are library materials safe to borrow?

Yes!Library materials with a green check mark

The CDC has found that the risk of infection via surface transmission is low.

It is not necessary to heat, bleach, spray, or otherwise clean/sanitize your library materials; doing so may damage the item, resulting in a fee.

How do I use the library's services during the pandemic?

Good news - the library is open!

But if you prefer not to come in, there are many other ways to use the library. You just need a resident library card number and PIN. If you don't already have a library card, you can get one here.

Forgot your PIN? Here are step-by-step instructions on what to do to recover it in case we're closed when you need it.

Don't forget - high school students have their eLibrary cards (aka Digital Access Cards). Most high schools in our district handed these out at the beginning of the school year so that high schoolers who go to school in our district can use our online collection even if they live in a different library district.

Digital Collection:
If you're an LCPL resident, your library card still gets you access to all of our online collections, like Overdrive/Libby, Hoopla, and Freegal. You can see all of our digital offerings here.

  • Hoopla borrows have increased from 8 to 16 per month.
  • We're purchasing Overdrive/Libby ebooks and audiobooks at an accelerated rate to fill holds and requests more quickly during our closure.
  • Freegal streaming has increased from 5 hours per day to 24 hours per day.

Databases and Online Learning:
Our online research tools are available - they're great for students still learning at home. You'll also find plenty of resources there for anyone wanting to learn new skills, crafts, languages, and more.

Free WiFi:
car with a wifi 

symbol above it - free parking lot wifiFree WiFi is available in the following branch parking lots seven days a week from 9 AM - 9 PM:

  • Cedar Lake Branch Parking Lot
  • Dyer-Schererville Branch East Parking Lot
  • Griffith-Calumet Township Parking Lot
  • Highland Parking Lot (extending to Highway Ave)
  • Hobart Parking Lot
  • Lake Station-New Chicago Branch Parking Lot
  • Merrillville Branch West Parking Lot
  • Munster North and South Parking Lots
  • St. John Branch East Parking Lot

Please remain in your vehicle while using our outdoor WiFi.

Ask a Question:
Library staff are monitoring our Ask a Librarian service, so feel free to drop us a line if you have any questions!

You can also call the library for assistance - if we're closed, just leave a message. 

Activities for All Ages:
We are thrilled to offer virtual storytime on five times a week at 10:30 AM, with a bonus Book Break on Sundays at 3 PM. Go to our YouTube page to join in!

  • Tuesday & Saturday: Picture Book Storytime
  • Wednesday: Mother Goose on the Loose (for babies 0 - 24 months)
  • Thursday: Middle Grade Book Tasting (The first chapter of a book your older kids might like. They can find the rest on Hoopla or Overdrive/Libby!)
  • Friday: Book Break (longer picture book readings)
  • Sunday: Bonus Book Break

Kids Activity Page: designed specially by our librarians to keep kids active and learning while staying home.

Teen & Adult Activity Page: things to learn and do while at home, created by our librarians just for you.

Zoom Events: Check out our events calendar for virtual events for all ages!

Remote Printing:
Send us what you need printed and pick it up during curbside hours!

Prints are black and white only and cost 5 cents/page. See more details and submit your file here.

Curbside Pickup:
Place a hold on an item and go to the library for contact-free curbside pickup. curbside pickup parking space sign
Here's how it works.

Is my group still meeting at the library?

Small group rooms and larger meeting rooms are now available at all branches!

What about Imagination Library?

As far as we know, there should be no disruptions to book delivery for children already signed up, approved, and processed in Imagination Library.

New applicants may experience a delay in approval to join the program. You can print an application and snail mail it back to the library, or scan it and email it to imagine@lcplin.org.

Is Summer Reading happening?

Yes! We are currently preparing for Summer Reading 2022: Oceans of Possibilities. The program will run from June 1 to July 31. Keep an eye on our summer reading page for details!

Barnyard animals all looking at a book over a fence with the banner Tails and Tales

How is the library ensuring a safe environment?

A library street sign with a green shield and checkmark by it As we expand building access and library services we are continually monitoring COVID numbers in Lake County and following CDC recommendations in our buildings. 

Here is our current employee safety resolution. This document supersedes our mask resolution of 2020.

How can I protect myself and others from COVID-19?

Here are the CDC's recommendations to prevent getting sick or spreading COVID-19.

Remember, recommendations are different depending on whether you have gotten your vaccine.

If you have not yet gotten a COVID-19 vaccine, give your local library a call - we can help you find one!

Do I have to wear a face mask in the library?a common face mask

Masks are required for those attending in-person library programs. For all other library use, we recommend following current CDC guidelines for the community levels in Lake County.

You can find our current community levels here.

You may also want to read the CDC's guide to effective masking.

I think I have symptoms...

COVID-19 symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • New loss of taste or smell

You can see the CDC's full list of COVID-19 symptoms here.

From Indiana's COVID-19 FAQ:

If you develop symptoms and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or have recently traveled from an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19, stay home and call your healthcare provider.

Your doctor will determine if you have signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and whether you
should be tested. You can also visit one of the Indiana Department of Health/Optum sites for
free COVID-19 testing. Click here for a map and other additional information for testing
locations across the state.