A Message from our Director about COVID-19 and the Library
Henrico County has created an online resource with information about the coronavirus, including the number for the Virginia Department of Health call center, and other helpful links. You can access that resource here. It will be updated regularly. We are following the County’s lead in its response to the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.
Beginning Monday, March 16, Henrico County Public Library buildings have been closed and will be until further notice. Don't worry about things like overdue books or returning items - any physical materials currently checked out will have their due dates extended until we reopen. Book returns are currently closed. Any holds that were placed will be waiting for you to pick up when we reopen. Our All Henrico Reads author event on April 2 will be postponed, and we plan to reschedule for a later date. Programs and meetings are being canceled during this time.
During this closure, we encourage you to visit the library remotely through henricolibrary.org. You can borrow materials online from the library through OverDrive, for books and audiobooks, and Hoopla, for books, audiobooks, music, and movies. Hoopla has no waiting period for borrowing. You can get digital access to magazines online with your library card through RB Digital, and newspapers through our Online Research page. Students of all ages can receive free online tutoring and homework help with Tutor.com, and additional study resources are available through Learning Express Library. If you have a question for a librarian, you can use our online Ask A Librarian service by clicking the green tab from any page of our website. Our My Next Read service can help you get book recommendations via email directly from library staff. Follow our blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for recommended reading lists and other resources to support your learning, work, and curiosity during this time. We are launching virtual storytimes via Facebook Live.
Thank you for your support of the Henrico County Public Library, our County, and community. Henrico County and HCPL will continue to update you through our website and social media channels.
Barbara F. Weedman
A lot of the people who work at and use your libraries are older and at higher risk for infections. What the heck? Why are you still open when everything else is closing.
I find it very irresponsible to have the libraries still open, especially when the schools are out. Despite the library being a haven for some, it’s not a daycare center, and funny enough schools and daycares are closing! People can’t look at a library being a place to leave their kids. They have to be, what, 13 to be left alone? So they would need parents with them and then that means more people at the library to spread the virus. We have to have people understand this is something that spreads rapidly and VIA THE AIR. No amount of gloves and hand washing is enough to prevent the spread. Containment and distancing does. It’s ridiculous that there is even a question whether or not these facilities should be open. It’s clear they shouldn’t.
I'm surprised that Henrico County is not closing the library which is a place for members of the community to gather. The federal government has issued a state of emergency, so it seems the County should take this more seriously. I value the library, I value the people who work at the library, and I value members of my community. The County should do likewise. There is absolutely no overriding imperative to keep a place of public gathering open. By the way, almost every non-profit which I am involved with has closed for two weeks. Many for-profit companies, such as Capital One, value their employees enough to have them work from home. For those who work in the library, that may not be an option, but value the employees and the customers enough to have a reasonable policy of closure in a time for national emergency. Geez!
Yes, please try to keep as many library branches open as possible!!!! I say this as both a mom and a teacher.
Even the City has enough sense to close. All you are doing is providing a risk to the public and your staff. You have online resources people can use. This is a shame. I’m disappointed in HCPL.
According to https://henrico.us/news/2020/03/localities-declare-local-emergencies-over-covid-19-outbreak/
“Henrico Board of Supervisors Vice Chairman Daniel J. Schmitt acknowledged that COVID-19 has created “an unusual, inconvenient and perhaps frightening time.”
“As local officials, the greatest responsibility we collectively accept is to protect the health, safety and general welfare of our residents,” he said. “This is exactly what we are doing with our emergency declaration and our work as a region.””
And so the question is, why will libraries be open, or even handing out materials through a window?
I think these libraries should be closed. While I believe libraries are a valuable information hub for their communities the problem is that they are, in fact, a hub. Gatherings in these areas could very well put the staff and communities these libraries intend to serve at risk.
I know it is a hard decision to make to close the library. But, all evidence so far in combating the virus, is shutting everything down and limiting social contact. It may seem like a big step now, but when this is all said and done it will be seen as making a difference. The schools are closed, day cares closed, retail stores are closing, why not the libraries? As busy places so many people could come in contact with each other and continue the spread. Especially with everything being shut down... Please think about closing for the sake of the community and your employees. It’s the right thing to do.
It’s incredibly reckless and careless to remain open and put your workers and the general public at further risk. Close immediately. You’re not gaining anything by be opening. Do the right (and painfully obvious) thing.
I understand that this is new territory for everyone, but it's wrong to put the public health and the libraries staff in harm's way just because people are gonna be bored. The libraries patrons are usually the older generations, mixed with children and books that have been touched by hundreds of people and I am pretty sure the libraries dont have enough staff to disinfect every books that comes through. I understand that it's an inconvenience to people and that as Americans, it's hard to adjust to something this big, especially when it's not affecting you "directly", but it's unfair to the public to give them access to a cesspool of germs and it's unfair to the library staff to make them put themselves in harm's way because its "inconvenient" to people. Please think about the safety of your staff and the safety of the public.
I don’t work for Henrico Libraries, but I do work for a library system in Central VA and I think these library systems are being irresponsible by staying open. We the staff who deal directly with the public are most at risk AND have to worry about passing the virus to our families, while the administrators and managers who get paid the big bucks stay in their offices all day and pretend like they’re “doing something for the community” by staying open. I also don’t care about the whiny, entitled parents worrying about their bored kids. If your kids are that bored, make them do chores around the house and learn some responsibility for once.
Due dates have been extended until March 30, and we will continue to extend them as needed. You can keep checking our site for updates.
Community Relations Coordinator - HCPL
I would like to see the libraries closed as some other individuals have mentioned before. I know I have spoken with some members of the staff who have compromised health conditions or relatives with those conditions. It is unspeakable cruel to keep the libraries open and put your staff and the public at risk for such little gain. We are supposed to stay home as much as possible these days, and signaling that it is ok to go out to a massively public space that houses materials you cannot effectively clean is a deriliction of duty. I am also curious about the cancelling of events. Why are some events safer than others? Please reconsider and make a decision before the libraries are massively used this week.
The library should be closed, Richmond City Librarians are closed, the VMFA, all schools. Staying open is allowing more opportunity for the virus to spread. Please do the right thing for patrons and your employees by closing.
The CDC recommends not socializing during the Pandemic. Libraries are the first line for social interaction. You need to close them and offer paid leave to all workers involved with running the library system. Do you want to be responsible for unnecessary illnesses and possible deaths.
The schools have closed to avoid large gatherings and libraries consistently have large numbers of people come through for events and books. If you are not proactive by containing this virus it will cause unnecessary harm to the public that you serve. You should follow the Henrico County public schools format so that we can all be safe together. Inconsistency during this time will not prevent the spread of illness. Please make the right choice and close the building down during the pandemic.