Earlier this month, the Santa Clara City Library and the Sunnyvale Public Library began serving patrons who want to pick up physical library books put on hold. Children’s materials, kids’ series books, genre fiction, and books about African American history and racial justice are in high demand.
“People have missed their public libraries,” said Hilary Keith, Director of the Santa Clara City Library. “Patrons have told me they would never take the library for granted again. As soon as we opened up our catalogs for holds, we had over 500 requests in the first three hours. Right now, we have over 3,000 books on hold on our shelves ready for pickup. You can sign up for a library card online. It is recommended that all patrons who come for pickup service wear masks or protective coverings.”
At this time, book pickups through the Santa Clara City Library take place at Central Park Library.
“We tell patrons to put their books on hold online,” Keith said. “When the books are ready for pickup, they would receive a notification. When they arrive at the library, they should go to the designated pickup spots outside the library. We’ll pull the items they want and bring it to their car. We have a walk-up service too for patrons who are walking or biking to the library.
“All our books that are being returned have to be quarantined for 72 hours,” Keith continued. “According to the American Library Association’s recommendations, the COVID-19 virus can survive on books and book covers up to only 72 hours.”
Like the Santa Clara City Library, the Sunnyvale Public Library also quarantines returned books for 72 hours. The Sunnyvale Public Library is offering a sidewalk service.
“Sidewalk service is where patrons would park their cars and they would walk up to an outdoor service point,” said Steve Sloan, Superintendent of Libraries at the City of Sunnyvale. “They would tell us their name and that they have holds available to pick up. We would retrieve the holds for them, place the items on a table, and the patron would pick up the items and walk back to their car. All that is done with the patrons and library staff wearing face masks with six feet of separation.”
This sidewalk service comes with limited staff assistance for certain patron needs, such as processing requests for new library cards. Cards can also be requested online through the library’s website.
“We have a reader’s recommendation service. If you go onto our website, you can list out what books you like and the librarians here can help you discover your next book to read,” Sloan said. “In early July, we will be lending out Chromebooks. We also increased the number of Wi-Fi hotspots that people can borrow.”
Visit sunnyvale.ca.gov/community/library/news/displaynews.htm?NewsID=626& for more details about Sunnyvale Public Library’s sidewalk service. Go to sunnyvale.ca.gov/community/library/default.htm for more information about this library.