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
For those of you who think the library should remain open, I want to point out why this is a risk to the public: Let’s say you’re 75, and have health issues and find it difficult to walk, so you utilize the drive-up window at your local Henrico County Library to pick up books you’ve put on hold, because it’s such a great service! First, a staff member finds the book on the shelf, then another staff member processes your hold, and then yet another employee hands you your book/books through the window. But first, you hand that employee your library card, they take your card and scan it, but they remind you that you have library fines. So you pay them, and they give you your change, and a receipt. Then they renew your other books that are coming due, so you get another paper receipt. Then they check out your current holds and give you a 3rd receipt. This is SO GREAT, until the staff member has a coughing fit before they return your books and card to you. You happen to notice the employee doesn’t clean their hands after they’ve coughed into them. You get your books, card, receipts, and drive away hoping that the employee isn’t sick with Covid-19. Maybe it’s just allergies? A cold? Then a few days later you hear on the news that an employee of Henrico Public Library has been diagnosed with Covid-19. Could it have been the same person that handled your card (which is on your key ring and you touch all the time), your books, money, receipts...and you had also picked up some books for your friend in the assisted living community. Now you’re really nervous and don’t know what to do, other than to wait it out and hope for the best. You’d go to church to pray, but can’t because the churches are closed. You’d go to a restaurant to meet your friend and share your concerns, but you can’t because your favorite restaurant is closed. Even the President said JUST TODAY not to go out.
My question to the person who wants the library to remain open: Was it really worth the risk?
My question to Barbara Weedman, Library Director and John Vithoulkas, County Manager: How will you contact ALL the citizens of Henrico, Hanover, Richmond, Goochland, Chesterfield Counties that if they picked up holds or visited an Henrico library that they are now at risk of having been infected with Covid-19?
Please protect your community, do the right thing and close the libraries.