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LIBRARY CLOSURE

Last updated: May 7, 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.

• Do legal research with Lexis Nexis. Use this special link to register with Lexis Nexis and get a temporary ID (expires May 31, 2020) to conduct research on the cases, codes, and secondary resources needed for legal work and personal legal research. 

• 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, some All Alexandria Reads programming will be converted to virtual events. Please see the events calendar for more information.

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
Mon, May 25, 10:00am - 10:30am
We have a new Virtual Baby Time episode available for you to enjoy any time on YouTube!

Tue, May 26, 10:00am - 10:30am
Join Miss Lisa and Baby for rhymes, songs and yoga activities just right for children ages 12-23 months. Please pre-register for this series.Register

Tue, May 26, 11:00am - 11:30am
Join Miss Lisa for stories, songs & more fun for your family. Stories, songs & more fun for ages 2+Register

Tue, May 26, 11:00am - 12:00pm
Use what you have at home to build your domestic arts. Register

Tue, May 26, 11:00am - 11:30am
Join Miss Amanda each week as she guides you step-by-step in drawing cartoon-style characters and objects. Have your pencils, paper, and felt-tip pen ready! LET'S GET DRAWING!

Tue, May 26, 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, May 26, 4:00pm - 4:30pm
Join Ms. Eli from her home for this virtual Spanish-English storytime. Sing songs and she'll read a book or two. Intended for ages 2 to 4, but all children and families are welcome to join in!

Tue, May 26, 5:30pm - 7:30pm
Celebrate the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in the United States, as well as suffrage efforts in Virginia, at the Virtual Women’s Suffrage Centennial Wikipedia Editing Workshop.Register

Wed, May 27, 10:00am - 10:40am
Get moving at home--help Miss Lisa tell favorite picture book stories with yoga!Register

Wed, May 27, 3:00pm - 4:00pm
Join others online to play this twist on a classic word guessing game.Register

Wed, May 27, 4:00pm - 5:00pm
Join Courtney McEllen, of Volunteer Alexandria, to learn what volunteering looks like during the pandemic and how one can support the Alexandria community in a safe and responsible manner. Register

Wed, May 27, 4:00pm - 4:30pm
Join Ms. Suzanne for a peek outside her window, a story or two and some of our favorite songs. Intended for ages 2 to 4, but other children can join us!

Wed, May 27, 7:00pm - 8:00pm
Join us for a special evening edition of Handcraft Meet-up! Share what you are working on, see what others are creating, and just chat while we craft together!

Wed, May 27, 8:00pm - 9:00pm
Learn about making an estate plan with or without a lawyer. Find out what resources the library has to offer, and get basic information about wills & trusts, probate and what makes up an estate plan. Register

Thu, May 28, 11:00am - 11:20am
Who says you have to sit still when reading? Jump, jump and jump some more as we read "Jump!" by Scott Fischer.Register

Thu, May 28, 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!

Thu, May 28, 11:00am - 12:00pm
Connect with your local community to cope during these uncertain times. Join this facilitated discussion with low vision optometrists, peers, & other resources from our community. All are welcome!

Thu, May 28, 1:00pm - 1:30pm
Join Miss Katie virtually as we read and craft together! Virtual programming runs shorter than our traditional programming. Ages 3+ Register

Thu, May 28, 4:00pm - 5:00pm
Join us online for Barrett's knitting and crochet group!Register

Thu, May 28, 4:00pm - 5:00pm
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the food industry in interesting ways. As Virginia and the country begin to reopen, we consider how will this affect the landscape of our lives.Register

Thu, May 28, 5:30pm - 7:00pm
Join William & Mary's Adrienne Berard for a presentation about her book, “Water Tossing Boulders: How a Family of Chinese Immigrants Led the First Fight to Desegregate Schools in the Jim Crow South.”Register

Thu, May 28, 7:00pm - 8:00pm
Join us for a virtual Knit Nite meet-up! Get help with your knitting projects or just chat with your friends and knitting volunteers. Ages 8-18.

Fri, May 29, 10:00am - 10:30am
Spitfire Book Club has gone digital! Check out YouTube every Friday morning for the newest episode! No registration required, watch anytime on YouTube!

Fri, May 29, 10:00am - 10:45am
Join Miss Lisa and "Baby" and learn yoga games to play your infant (ages 6 weeks-11 months). Register

Fri, May 29, 1:00pm - 2:00pm
Enjoy this mixed level, accessible Hatha style Yoga class where you will practice traditional Yoga poses, breathing and relaxation techniques.Register

Fri, May 29, 2:00pm - 3:00pm
Have you been reading a lot of Young Adult books during quarantine? Are you looking for a good read? Join our Teen Librarian every Friday to talk about everything Young Adult! All ages welcome.

Sat, May 30, 12:00pm - 1:30pm
Learn how to make dinner rolls and buns! Just in time for summer time bbqs!

Mon, Jun 01, 11:00am - 11:30am
Join Miss Katie for our Virtual Toddler Rock N' Read. We'll be sharing a story and singing several of our favorite songs! Please register for this event!Register

Mon, Jun 01, 4:00pm - 4:45pm
Songs, rhymes, yoga, and more interactive fun to share with our littlest friends. Ages 0-24 months.Register

Tue, Jun 02, 11:00am - 11:45am
Stories and a whole lot more!Register

Tue, Jun 02, 3:00pm - 4:00pm
Join us for a virtual presentation of Professor Stephen Ruth's program "Things That Keep Me Up at Night: Technology’s Severest Challenges." Register

Tue, Jun 02, 5:30pm - 6:30pm
Want to practice your Spanish? Join us for an hour of informal conversation with fellow learners. Participants should have a conversational level of Spanish at a minimum. Register

Wed, Jun 03, 4:00pm - 4:30pm
Join Ms. Suzanne and a special guest who will share the view from his window in Alaska! He'll talk about what he can see and read a story about Alaska. We'll also sing some of our favorite songs.

Wed, Jun 03, 6:30pm - 7:00pm
Join Miss Katie for Virtual Pajama Story Time! We'll be reading some bedtime stories and singing a few soothing songs! Please remember that virtual programs will be shorter! Register

Thu, Jun 04, 1:00pm - 1:30pm
Join Miss Katie virtually for stories and make your own craft each week! Aimed at ages 3+ Register

Thu, Jun 04, 1:30pm - 2:30pm
The Afternoon Book Discussion Group meets on the first Thursday of each month at 1:30 PM. All are welcome! Register

Thu, Jun 04, 4:00pm - 5:00pm
Join us online for Barrett's knitting and crochet group!Register

Thu, Jun 04, 7:00pm - 8:30pm
Join us for a virtual discussion of the following two stories: "Birthmates" by Gish Jen and "Soon" by Pam Durban. Register

Sat, Jun 06, 3:00pm - 5:00pm
2020 Census Information Session: How Will the 2020 Census Impact You and Your Community? The Census and Local Government Services Register

Mon, Jun 08, 11:00am - 11:30am
Join Miss Katie for our Virtual Toddler Rock N' Read. We'll be sharing a story and singing several of our favorite songs! Please register for this event!Register

Mon, Jun 08, 4:00pm - 4:45pm
Songs, rhymes, yoga, and more interactive fun to share with our littlest friends. Ages 0-24 months.Register

Mon, Jun 08, 7:00pm - 8:30pm
Please join us for a virtual discussion of "A Woman is No Man" by Etaf Rum.

Mon, Jun 08, 7:00pm - 8:00pm
Please join us online to discuss "The Trial of Oscar Wilde" in recognition of LGBTQ+ Pride month.Register

Mon, Jun 08, 7:00pm - 8:00pm
The Friends of Duncan Library's monthly board meeting will take place virtually this month using Zoom. Register

Tue, Jun 09, 10:00am - 11:00am
A short presentation will discuss all of the library's digital services and the remainder of the time attendees can get assistance with accessing the library's digital services and databases. Register

Tue, Jun 09, 11:00am - 11:45am
Stories and a whole lot more!Register

Tue, Jun 09, 4:00pm - 4:30pm
Join Ms. Eli from her home for this virtual Spanish-English storytime. Sing songs and she'll read a book or two. Intended for ages 2 to 4, but all children and families are welcome to join in!

Tue, Jun 09, 7:00pm - 8:30pm
Join us for a free virtual Candid presentation. You will learn the 10 most important things you need to know about finding grants. Registration required.Register

Tue, Jun 09, 7:00pm - 8:00pm
Join us for a book club with beer. Contact kdow@alexlibraryva.org or 703-746-1751 for more information.Register