Our Response to COVID-19

Our Response to COVID-19

Last updated Nov. 16, 2020

Limited Access Inside All Libraries Beginning Nov. 18

Pikes Peak Library District (PPLD) is here to serve you, regardless of the circumstances!

We continue to prioritize the health and safety of our patrons, staff, and greater community during this ongoing global pandemic. With El Paso County’s recent surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations that’s led to qualifying for the state’s “high risk” status, PPLD leadership has decided to take proactive measures and will temporarily limit access inside all of our libraries beginning Wed., Nov. 18.


What does this mean for you?

  • Our libraries will only allow patrons inside if they have a reservation to use a computer. Call (719) 389-8968 or your local library to make a reservation. Soon we’ll offer printing, copying, scanning, and/or faxing by appointment, but service availability will vary by location. (PPLD still requires face coverings to enter our facilities and encourages everyone to stay six feet apart at all times.)
  • While you won’t be able to browse our physical collection, curbside services remain available, in addition to 24/7 returns, outside of all libraries. Simply drive, bike, or walk up to pick up items on hold or a wireless print job! (Check your library’s curbside hours and procedures before heading out.)
  • Have a question? Ask a librarian! You can still connect with our staff by phone, live chat, or email. Or, book an appointment with one of our specialized librarians.
  • Take advantage of our large digital collection, extensive hub of online resources, and many virtual programs available for all ages and interests. Browse our online Catalog, conduct research, or participate in a Library event from almost anywhere, anytime. Get started using our Library remotely!
  • Need WiFi? It should be accessible outside most library facilities for anyone to use, day or night.

This decision was made in response to what’s happening in our community – and in the best interest of everyone – using guidance from local and state public health officials. It allows us to safely continue providing access to important Library resources and services while reducing people’s risk of exposure to COVID-19 during a time when local cases and hospitalizations are spiking.


Here’s what you can expect when visiting one of our libraries to help prevent the spread of COVID-19:

  • The Library is open by reservation only beginning Wed., Nov. 18. Only those with appointments will be allowed inside, and then escorted by staff to the designated area. You can schedule time to use a computer but not to browse the collection or use our space in other ways. Call (719) 389-8968 to make a reservation; library card may be required.
  • Cloth face coverings or masks are required by all patrons and staff to enter all libraries. (If you do not have one, PPLD can provide you with a single-use mask at no cost. Some exemptions do apply, such as for those under the age of 2, which aligns with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.)
  • Staff regularly sanitizes frequently touched items like handles, counters, and copiers. Computers are cleaned between each use.
  • All fax machines, copiers, and computers are self-service only; staff can only offer assistance at services desks, behind a protective shield.
  • Some computers are not available as we encourage patrons and staff to remain six feet apart in our computer labs.
  • Other areas and items that are temporarily unavailable or closed to the public: Browsing the collection, or using furniture, water fountains, children’s play area, meeting and study rooms, studios, and makerspaces.

Why is the Library requiring patrons to wear face masks?

PPLD prioritizes the health and safety of Library patrons, staff, and the community-at-large. To provide library services and resources inside of our facilities, our staff must interact directly with patrons in close proximity. We have instituted this requirement, along with other precautionary measures, to minimize potential transmission of COVID-19.

This is in accordance with Governor Polis’ latest Executive Order to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Colorado communities. Effective July 16, everyone in Colorado over the age of 10 is required to wear a face covering inside any public space. Also, after significant discussion and consideration of scientific findings during the May 27 public meeting, PPLD’s Board of Trustees unanimously approved the requirement of cloth face coverings by patrons and staff inside all libraries to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in El Paso County and beyond. The Board of Trustees determined that the Library District will comply with CDC recommendations requiring masks for those ages two and older, rather than the statewide recommendation of 10 and older.

PPLD will continue to adhere to public health guidance that’s grounded in science, especially as El Paso County Public Health and the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment report an increase in COVID-19 cases within El Paso County and across the state.

If you do not feel comfortable wearing a mask, PPLD still offers curbside services at all libraries. There are also many ways to use the Library remotely, almost anytime and anywhere.


What else can I expect from PPLD?

Here’s an overview of what is available – and not available – to our Library cardholders and patrons at this time:

  • Want to return items and pick-up holds? Our curbside services are still available at all libraries! Use the link to find out more and access your library’s service hours and pickup instructions.
  • Use the Library remotely! Browse our Online Catalog. 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.
  • Check out our virtual programs! Our librarians are bringing their services to you, anywhere and anytime.
  • Have a question? Ask a librarian! Our staff are available to help you by phone, live chat, and email. You also can book an appointment with a specialized librarian.
  • Checked out items: Please check your PPLD accounts either through our Catalog or on the PPLD mobile app for the new return dates, which will be listed by item. (Returns are accepted outside of all libraries as part of curbside service.)
  • Fines & fees: We officially went fine-free for most Library materials in early 2019, as long as they are not lost or damaged. (See above regarding checked out items.)
  • OverDrive: Since more patrons are using PPLD digital resources online, cardholders can have 20 checkouts for a total of 21 days each; the holds limit remains at a total of 30. PPLD will continue to add copies of digital materials to our collection as our budget allows. Some digital checkouts can be returned early so others have opportunity for access. Instructions for checking out and returning are available here.
  • Library programs & reservations: All in-person Library programs and events held inside of PPLD facilities, along with public meeting and study room reservations, have been cancelled through Thu., Dec. 31, unless it is deemed safe to resume sooner. Do note that this could be extended depending upon the state orders and local public health guidelines as we approach the end of 2020.
  • 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 90 days (instead of the usual 12-day limit), giving you immediate access to OverDrive and other digital resources from home. Bring your ID and proof of address to your nearest Library and they can activate your full privilege account curbside!
  • Account expirations & renewals: Library card/account expirations will be extended, including accounts that expired in the past 24 months.
  • Interlibrary loans: Due to staffing restrictions based on guidance from local public health officials, maintaining the current number of requests is not feasible. Therefore, we are decreasing the number of Interlibrary Loans requests to three per library card. We expect requests to take longer to fulfill (borrowing or purchasing), with a potential wait time of four to eight weeks.
  • WiFi access: All Library facilities continue to provide open WiFi access, which should be also available outside of most PPLD buildings.
  • Book donations: Please keep books that you intend to donate. Direct such questions and concerns directly to the Friends of PPLD (online form).

What’s happening behind the scenes at the Library?

All returned materials may be quarantined for up to 96 hours before being processed and circulated. This time limit has been approved by El Paso County Public Health.

Per the current “high risk” status, the PPLD team can only work at a quarter of capacity inside our facilities. On-site staff are required to follow public health guidance like wearing face coverings, washing hands thoroughly and frequently, and maintaining proper distance during any in-person interactions. They are shelving books, pulling holds, quarantining returned materials, and helping circulate thousands of books, movies, and other items from PPLD’s large collection between our libraries.

Our librarians are still here for you virtually! Staff continue to take your questions by phone, live chat, and email. They’re also providing and expanding virtual services and programs, along with our digital collection. And, we’re working with community organizations, school districts, and other partners to support El Paso County residents with many different needs during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.


Information About COVID-19

Have questions about the novel coronavirus?
We understand that people may be concerned about COVID-19 and how it may affect them. Please check out the following public resources for more information:

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.

What is COVID-19?
There is a global pandemic situation involving a respiratory illness named COVID-19, which is caused by a new coronavirus that spreads through coughing or sneezing, much like influenza (also known as the flu). Since much is still unknown about the novel virus, no vaccine is currently available to prevent COVID-19 infection.
For current information and updates on the pandemic:

Comments

The stores are all out of disinfectant wipes. Is the library actually wiping down all materials as they come in, (and the ones on the shelf that are exposed to the public's possible sneezing, coughing, and un-sanitized fingers), or are you leaving it solely up to patrons to wipe down any materials they borrow?

Hi Kay,
We understand that people may be concerned about COVID-19 and how it may affect them. Given the evolving situation, our team is working closely with El Paso County Public Health, preparing for potential impact in our community, and taking precautionary measures at all of our library facilities.

PPLD cannot guarantee circulating items to be germ-free. Patrons can use a damp disinfectant wipe on covers/cases for materials like books, DVDs, CDs, audiobooks, and other items.

Please feel free to reach out if you have any further questions.

Kayah Swanson
Director of Public Relations & Marketing
kswanson@ppld.org

I was told by one of PPLD's staff yesterday that there is a good chance the District will be closing its libraries soon, as other libraries in Colorado have already done according to her. Will you consider any ideas, short of closing facilities completely, to continue service for those who may desperately need to have access to computers, wi-fi, and other less vital materials, such as educational and entertaining materials especially now that schools and other events are cancelled? I can think of several procedures and accommodations that could be implemented, and ways to safeguard staff, to allow libraries to remain accessible to the community short of closing the buildings and furloughing employees. Just as it is important not to shut down all private businesses, we should look for solutions for keeping the services offered through our libraries available to help the community.

Hi Kay,

While we've made the decision to close, our team continues to have discussions about such topics; we'll provide a community update to this page as soon as we can.

Do you forsee prohibiting the use of meeting rooms anytime soon?

Hi Anna,

All meeting room reservations, in addition to public programs, have been cancelled effective March 16 through March 31.

The library book sale is still on this weekend though correct?

Hello Sarah. Yes, the book sale is still on. The cancellation is effective starting Mon., March 16.

You need to close ALL PPLD libraries.
Many of your patrons are NOT being safe with their own personal hygiene ( think the homeless ). If the virus enters the system it will spread like wildfire .
You need to think of the public and employees safety now. Many patrons and employees are in the seriously at risk catagories. Their safety is your first responsibility

Hi Joe,

The decision has been made to close all physical locations starting Mon., March 16, until further notice.

Why are you not allowing room reservations? Your libraries are MAD LOUD and I’m tryna work

Hi Mary,

The decision to cancel public programs, and to close our facilities, was made in collaboration with and at the recommendation of El Paso County Public Health.

I have a book on hold. How would I go about getting that? Will I lose my window of pick up?

Hi Jamie,

Our team continues to have discussions about such topics; we'll provide a community update to this page as soon as we can.

I have a book on hold available at the library only until Wednesday the 18TH with all the libraries closing will it still be there when the libraries reopen or will I have to place it on hold again

Hi Marjorie,

Our team continues to have discussions about such topics; we'll provide a community update to this page as soon as we can.

Will someone be working at the library during this time to accept returns? Or do we keep materials until reopening?

Hi Lisa,

Please keep your Library materials for right now. We continue to discuss such topics and will keep the community up-to-date on decisions that impact our patrons via this page and social media.

I have a few books currently checked out that aren’t due until March 30th. Do I need to return them before Monday?

Hi Jennifer,

Please keep your Library materials for right now. We continue to discuss such topics and will keep the community up-to-date on decisions that impact our patrons.

Holds that reach their "pick up by" date will still be available when the library re-opens?

Hi Brenda,
Our team continues to have discussions about such topics; we'll provide a community update to this page as soon as we can.

Will the bookmobile schedule be cancelled?

Will there be any late fee charges if the book mobile is cancelled?

Hi Darlene,

Mobile Library Services are temporarily suspended, as well. PPLD no longer charges late fees for most materials, as of January 2019 (learn more here: https://ppld.org/fine-free). Checkouts will be extended, but details are forthcoming. We continue to have discussions on these topics and will provide an update as soon as possible to this page.