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LIBRARY CLOSURE

Last updated: April 1, 2020


As we continue to monitor the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, Alexandria Library is committed to keeping both customers and staff safe and healthy.

Effective immediately the Alexandria Library will be closed until further notice.

This was a difficult decision to make as we know how much people rely on their libraries to support their educational, entertainment, and recreational needs. However, libraries are a hub of community activity with some branches drawing hundreds of visitors per day. With the CDC and the Governor recommending gatherings of no more than 10 people, and with ACPS schools closed, the best course of action was to close all libraries for a period of time.

Although library branches are closed, some staff will be on site to support phone and virtual reference Monday through Friday from 9am to 5pm. Volunteers are asked not to report during the closure.

 
Some additional specifics include:

  • In addition to live phone support, online chat service will be available Monday through Friday 8am to 11pm, Saturday 9am to 9pm, and Sunday 12pm – 9pm.
  • Reference service is also available via Ask a Librarian on our website.
  • All in-person library-sponsored programs are cancelled until further notice.  For online programs please see our virtual branch page.
  • All meeting room bookings are cancelled until further notice.
  • All due dates on physical items you currently have checked out will be extended until the library opens. Please feel free to keep those items for now; however, the book drops will remain open for your convenience.
  • If items were overdue prior to March 16, fines will apply.
  • Holds will be suspended and unavailable.
  • No new interlibrary loan requests will be processed; customers should keep any loans currently in their possession until the library reopens.
  • No donated materials will be accepted until further notice.
  • WiFi will continue during the library’s normal operating hours and can be accessed in the parking lots.
  • The Talking Books service will continue to provide materials via mail to blind and physically handicapped customers

While libraries are closed, you’ll still find plenty of resources available in our online catalog with eBooks, eAudiobooks, and other digital resources – including free training, streaming music, periodicals, and research databases. In addition, library staff will be working on providing additional online services including virtual events and videos.


We apologize for any inconvenience library closures might cause, but we thank you for your patience and always appreciate your support. We regret closing our doors but believe this is the most responsible course of action as we encourage customers and staff to use best practices that will shorten the run of COVID-19 in Alexandria.


We know that Alexandria’s library is a valued resource for so many readers and supporters. We want to resume full operations as quickly and safely as possible. To that end, we’ll work closely with the Alexandria City government and health department. The Library Board will revisit this decision and will keep you informed of any changes. We look forward to welcoming everyone back when we reopen.


Please check this page and social media for real-time updates on what we’re doing as this public health situation continues.




 

ONLINE RESOURCES


• Checkout an eBook or eAudiobook from Overdrive/Libby.

Read a magazine using RBdigital, a free service that offers full digital copies of your favorite magazines to view on a computer or mobile device.

Search databases for articles and information for you or your students, who may be home from school.

• Use Heritage Quest from home to work on that genealogy project you've been putting off.

• Expand your music collection by downloading music from Freegal. You can also stream up to 3 hours of music each day.

• Ask a librarian a question via email or request a Book Match if you need some suggestions on what to read.

• Learn a new language with Mango or Rocket Languages.

Take an online class to learn something new!

• You can build your resume and get career help with Career Transitions.

• Grow your Google skills with Grow with Google classes online.

• Use the Gardening and Horticulture database to get information for planting your garden.

• Cook up some new recipes from the AtoZ World Food database.

• Stream films from Kanopy. Kanopy has created a playlist of movies you can watch without using your play credits. And all Kanopy Kids selections are free to stream until April 12.

• Kids need something to do? Check out this list of free, online resources curated by our Youth Services Librarians.

• Trying to search for grants from home? You can access Candid’s Foundation Directory Online with this link.

• Have questions about any of the digital services? Email the Digital Services Librarian.

 



 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS


How long will the library remain closed?
We are planning to remain closed until further notice. At that time, we will determine whether it is safe to reopen or if we need to extend the closure. We will continue to work with the Alexandria City government and Alexandria Health Department to ensure the safety of customers and residents.

Are you doing this because someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19 came to the library?
No. So far as we are aware, no one with a confirmed case of COVID-19 has visited the library.

I have a library item already checked out - how will I return it?
We are extending all returns until the library reopens. Book return bins will remain open but we encourage you to keep the books until the Library reopens. Overdue fines are waived during this time.

Will you be cleaning your books, CDs, and other materials during this time?
Not at this time. However, our staff is using gloves to handle materials, and we are encouraging all our customers to wipe down and disinfect their materials before returning them. Here is what the CDC says about transmission of COVID-19.

Will I still be able to access your eBooks, eAudiobooks, and other digital items?
Yes, our full digital catalog, and all online resources, will remain available for use. Additional materials have been added to increase our offerings during the closure.

Can I still place holds on physical items?
Not at this time. However, you can still add books to your wishlist in your account so that you can keep track of items you are interested in.

I have a hold placed on an item - will it be canceled?
Holds for digital materials (eBooks, eAudiobooks, etc.) will continue unchanged. 

Can I still get books to keep me sane during the closure?
You can still access a wide array of digital books, music, and periodicals through Overdrive, Freegal, RBDigital, and our other online resources.

I don’t have a library card — can I get one online during the closure?
Yes. We’ll continue to process library card registrations received online. Getting a free card only takes a few minutes. We are extending the expiration of these temporary cards to six weeks to allow customers to utilize online resources without coming to the library to collect their physical card.

Does this mean All Alexandria Reads is cancelled?
All Alexandria Library programming, community outreach events, books sales and meeting room reservations remain suspended until further notice. At this time, All Alexandria Reads programming scheduled for April has been cancelled.

Will all library locations open back up, or will you open a few at a time?
At this time, our plan is to reopen all of our locations. If it becomes necessary to change that strategy because of the ongoing pandemic, we’ll communicate to customers, supporters, and news media as quickly as possible.

If I have additional questions, how do I contact you?
Please use our Contact Us forms.

You can continue to support Alexandria Library with donations through the Alexandria Library Foundation. Learn more at https://alexlibraryva.org/library-foundation.

 

Virtual Events
Tue, Apr 07, 2:00pm - 3:00pm
Attention all handcrafters! Join us to share what you are working on, see what others are creating, and just chat while we craft together!

Tue, Apr 07, 7:00pm - 8:00pm
Join us as we discuss the book "Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II" by Liza Mundy. Register

Wed, Apr 08, 10:00am - 11:30am
This class will introduce you to Overdrive & Libby, help you create an account, and get you started reading or listening.

Thu, Apr 09, 11:00am - 12:00pm
Attention all handcrafters! Join us to share what you are working on, see what others are creating, and just chat while we craft together!

Fri, Apr 10, 10:00am - 11:00am
Each week on Friday morning, Spitfire will post our newest club to YouTube. You can watch this any time you want!

Fri, Apr 10, 10:00am - 11:30am
Did you know you have access to magazines and music with your library card?

Sat, Apr 11, 3:00pm - 4:30pm
Death Cafes are an opportunity to demystify the death experience. We offer an open, safe environment for discussing thoughts, feelings about all manner death and dying. Register

Mon, Apr 13, 2:00pm - 3:00pm
The Friends of Duncan Library's monthly board meeting will take place virtually this month using Zoom. Register

Mon, Apr 13, 7:00pm - 8:00pm
Please join us online to discuss "The Library Book" by Susan Orlean. Register

Mon, Apr 13, 7:00pm - 8:00pm
Organize and plan your weekly meals with digital tools!

Tue, Apr 14, 7:00pm - 8:00pm
Join us for a book club with beer. Contact kdow@alexlibraryva.org or 703-746-1746 for more information. Register

Wed, Apr 15, 10:00am - 11:30am
Looking for a new book to read and not sure where to start? Learn to use Novelist and Books & Authors to find your next read!

Wed, Apr 15, 7:00pm - 8:00pm
Join us as we discuss "The Library Book" By Susan OrleanRegister

Fri, Apr 17, 10:00am - 11:00am
Each week on Friday morning, Spitfire will post our newest club to YouTube. You can watch this any time you want!

Fri, Apr 17, 10:00am - 11:30am
Learn about online privacy, your information footprint and get some resources for managing your online presence.

Mon, Apr 20, 10:00am - 11:30am
Learn the basics of YouTube, how to create playlists, and how to start your own channel.

Mon, Apr 20, 7:00pm - 8:00pm
Bill Young has traveled the world studying birds. This program will present some of the amazing birds he has seen from all around the world, including birds you might see in your own back yard! Register

Tue, Apr 21, 7:00pm - 8:00pm
Bill Young has traveled the world studying birds. This program will present some of the amazing birds he has seen from all around the world, including birds you might see in your own back yard! Register

Wed, Apr 22, 10:00am - 11:30am
Use apps to identify birds, bugs, plants and more!

Fri, Apr 24, 10:00am - 11:00am
Each week on Friday morning, Spitfire will post our newest club to YouTube. You can watch this any time you want!

Fri, Apr 24, 10:00am - 11:30am
Google is more than its search engine. Learn how you can harness some of its most popular applications.

Fri, Apr 24, 2:00pm - 3:00pm
An in-store nutritionist from Giant Foods will join us on the library's Zoom account to talk about meal planning to fit your budget. Register

Mon, Apr 27, 10:00am - 11:30am
Podcasts are a digital audio files that are available for downloading or streaming. Learn how to begin using these services.

Mon, Apr 27, 7:00pm - 8:00pm
Meditation
Our friends at Yoga in Daily Life will lead their regular monthly meditation program using our library Zoom account. Register

Tue, Apr 28, 7:00pm - 8:00pm
Bill Young has traveled the world studying wildlife. This program will present some of the amazing wildlife he encountered in Ecuador! Register

Wed, Apr 29, 7:00pm - 8:00pm
Join Jim Johnston as he talks about his book, "Murder, Inc.: The CIA under John F. Kennedy." Register

Thu, Apr 30, 7:00pm - 8:00pm
Bill Young has traveled the world studying wildlife. This program will present some of the amazing wildlife he encountered in the Galápagos! Register