Returns: Book Drops Only. Holds Pick-Up: Curbside or Drive-Up Service. In-Branch: Computers, printing, fax, and copiers. Virtual Branch is available 24/7. Learn more about MCPL's pandemic response. MCPL’s Boardwalk Branch has reopened as of 6/30 with curbside service only. Learn more.

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MCPL Branches Resume Select Services

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Mid-Continent Public Library continues to monitor the recommendations and guidelines of government and public health officials regarding COVID-19. To ensure it is operating as safely as possible, the Library is taking a phased approach to resuming services at its branches. Check this page regularly for updates on the Library’s plans. 

Monday, June 29: All MCPL locations will require everyone (including customers, staff, and vendors) entering a building to wear a face mask covering the nose and mouth until further notice. The Library is following the guidelines from the Kansas City Health Department's face mask mandate made on Friday, June 26. Learn more.

Branches are currently open for the following:

  • Technology services including public computer use and access to printers, copiers, and fax machines. Social distancing practices will be in place.
  • Pick-up of Library materials placed on hold will continue to be available through curbside and drive-up window service. (See below). Summer Library Program information is also available. To learn more about curbside service procedures, watch this video.
  • Return of Library materials: All book drop locations are accepting the return of MCPL materials, including book group books and Interlibrary Loan materials. No donated items are being accepted at this time. More information is in the “How to Return Materials” section below. 
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Note: MCPL’s Boardwalk Branch has reopened as of Tuesday, June 30, after a potential exposure to COVID-19 between June 16-23. The branch is only operating curbside service at this time with limited hours (Monday – Friday 10-6; Sunday 1-4; closed July 4)  Learn more.

Important: 

  • Staff and customer safety: All staff and customers are required to wear face covering over their nose and mouth. For more information on measures to keep staff and customers safe, please see the “What the Library Is Doing” section below.
  • Lower occupancy levels: Branches will have lower occupancy levels due to social distancing guidelines based on guidance from local health departments. Customers may experience wait times for public computers.
  • Visit length: Customers are asked to stay no longer than 90 minutes due to reduced occupancy levels to allow others access to services. 
  • Operating hours: Branches will continue to close one hour earlier than each branch’s regular closing time. Closing times on the branch location pages reflect the current closing times.
  • Fines: Fines will not accrue on any items checked out prior to March 17 until July 1, 2020. Items checked out on May 18 or after will begin accruing fines after 28 days as normal.
  • Holds limit: The holds limit on physical items was increased to 75 items per account as of July 1, 2020.

How to Return Materials

MCPL book drops at all branches (except Farview Neighborhood Library and the Colbern Road Branch construction site) are accepting returns of previously checked-out items. 

  • All returned items must be placed in the outdoor book drops. You may return materials to any book drop.
  • Staff and branches with drive-up windows will not accept returned items directly from customers. 
  • Due to the volume of returns, please do not place donations of non-Library books in the book drops.
  • All items will be quarantined for at least 72 hours (and up to 96 hours) before they are checked back into the Library’s collection and become available for check-out. 
  • Due dates for items that were checked out prior to the Library’s closure on March 16 have been extended to June 1, 2020. 
  • Fines will not accrue on any items checked out prior to July 1, 2020. Items kept beyond six weeks will be billed to a customer's account until it has been returned.

How to Pick Up Holds

On Monday, May 18, MCPL branches began curbside service, allowing customers to pick up physical materials they have placed holds on and that they have been notified are ready.  

If you have received a notice by email or via postcard that materials you have on hold are available:

  1. Call the MCPL branch where your hold is available to notify them that you would like to pick up your holds. You will be asked to confirm your Library card number and other account information.  
  2. Follow the signs in the branch parking lot for service.
  3. Call the branch to let them know you have arrived. Remain in your vehicle, if you have one, or maintain social distancing of at least six feet from other customers and Library staff if you do not, while you wait for service. 
  4. Staff will bring your held items to your vehicle or pass them to you in a plastic bag supplied by the Library.
  5. All returned items must be placed in the outdoor book drops. Staff will not accept returned items directly from customers. 

Please note that branches with drive-up windows may or may not use that feature as part of curbside service. Branch staff will notify you when you call.

Customers who previously picked up their holds at the Colbern Road Branch will pick up their holds at the new East Lee’s Summit Branch (2240 SE Blue Parkway) unless they have designated another branch as their holds location prior to May 15.

Holds Policy and Information During Curbside Service

In order to check out physical materials, including books, DVDs, and CDs, customers must place holds in the online catalog and then be notified by email or postcard that the materials are ready for pick-up before visiting the branch. Hold limits on physical items do not impact limits on digital items and vice versa. Please consider deleting holds on any items you are no longer interested in.

  1. To place holds:
    • Visit the online catalog and put items on hold in advance.  
    • Although it is recommended that customers continue to use the online catalog, MCPL staff members at each branch will be available via phone to assist customers with placing holds.
       
  2. Hold limits on physical items: As of July 1, customer holds are limited to up to 75 physical items per account at a time.   
    • Customers with more than 75 holds on physical items on their account prior to May 18: You will be allowed to pick up all holds as they become available. Holds on physical items must be reduced below 75 by pick-ups or cancellations in order to place new holds.  
    • Customers with 74 or fewer holds: You may add new holds on physical items (up to 75), but you will need to pick up available holds at the branch in order to add new ones. 
  1. Notification: When your hold becomes available, you will receive a notification from the Library by email or by post card (if you have elected that as an option) that your held items are available for pick-up. Customers will have 10 days from the day the hold item(s) became available to pick up these materials. 
     
  2. To learn how to use MCPL’s online catalog and place holds:

How to Handle Library Materials

How long does the COVID-19 virus live on Library materials?

The Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) is working with Batelle, a noted testing company and the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) to learn more about how the COVID-19 virus interacts with books, CDs, magazines, and other materials commonly found and used in libraries and museums. MCPL is monitoring the results of the tests and study to help make decisions about how we provide service. If you're interested in the tests being performed as part of the Reopening Archives, Libraries, and Museums (REALM) Information Hub: A COVID-19 Research Project, you can find out more here: https://www.webjunction.org/explore-topics/COVID-19-research-project.html

What should I do if I am concerned about having Library materials in my home? 

We are holding all returned items separately from others at least 72 hours prior to checking them back into the Library’s collection and making them available to other customers, which is recommended by the CDC guidelines. Hard surface materials like DVDs and CDs will be wiped down if extra cleaning is needed. 

  • First, consider switching to digital materials for the time being. eAudiobooks and eBooks, as well as streaming music and videos, are available through the Library’s website. 
  • Second, consider placing your checked-out items aside for another day or two, like you would with items that come from the grocery store. 
  • Finally, you might consider wearing a mask and gloves if that makes you feel more comfortable.

Can I clean the items once I bring them home?

Customers are asked not to expose Library materials to disinfectants, extreme heat (like from an oven), microwaves, or other chemicals that can damage books, CDs, and DVDs, leading to charges against your account. Most items have metal RFID tags that could catch on fire in a microwave oven. 

Sanitizing wipes may be used to carefully wipe plastic covers of books (not the pages), and DVD or CD cases.   

What The Library Is Doing To Keep Customers and Staff Safe

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For the safety of our team and our community, we are: 

  • Requiring masks for staff working with customers.
  • Requiring all customers and visitors to wear masks covering the nose and mouth.
  • Quarantining returned Library materials for at least 72 hours.
  • Regularly cleaning high-touch surfaces throughout the day.
  • Following social distancing protocols.
  • Asking customers and staff to stay home if they feel ill.
  • Opening to customers 60+ years of age and vulnerable community members during the first hour each day.
  • Continuing contactless pick-up of materials.
  • Closing one hour early each day for cleaning

The health and safety of you and our staff is our highest priority!

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Do I have to wear a mask?
    • Due to the ongoing public health concerns related to COVID-19 in the Kansas City area, and for the safety of customers, including those who may be part of a vulnerable population, and our staff, we are now requiring all visitors including our vendors to wear masks covering the nose and mouth. If you don’t have a mask, one will be provided to wear during your visit.
  • Are branch buildings open to the public?
    • Beginning June 16, customers will be allowed inside MCPL branches (for a maximum of 90 minutes per customer) to utilize select services, including:
      • Public computer use (customers will be limited to 60 minutes per day per customer account)
      • Printing, copying, and faxing services
      • Use of Wi-Fi inside the branch
    • All returns must continue to be placed in the outdoor book drops. 
    • Holds must continue to be picked up through curbside and drive-up window service.
    • We look forward to adding more services within our buildings when it is safe to do so for our staff and for you.
  • What can I do inside the Library?
    • Beginning June 16, select in-branch services will be available, including:
      • Use a public computer (60-minutes per day limit) or indoor Wi-Fi 
      • Print, copy, and fax
      • Pick up holds outside
      • Place returns in the outdoor book drop
      • Pay a bill at the self-check machine 
  • What can I NOT do inside the Library?
    • Stay longer than 90 minutes
    • Browse the shelves
    • Gather in large groups
    • Reserve or use a meeting or community room
    • Use children’s computers and early literacy equipment
    • Get assistance with an eReader
    • Pick up Summer Library Program prizes
    • Read Library periodicals, including magazines and newspapers
    • Move Library furniture 
  • Are book drops open to return items? 
    • Yes, all book drops are open. All returned items must be returned to book drops.  Book drops are not available at Farview Neighborhood Library or the Colbern Road Branch’s construction site, but items can be dropped at any MCPL branch.
  • Can I return Interlibrary Loan materials to book drops right now?
    • Yes, during this time, MCPL is accepting all returned items through its book drops. MCPL staff will not accept returns directly from customers due to new safety procedures.
  • Can book group books be returned to book drops?
    • Yes, all returned items must be placed in the book drops. 
  • Is the Library accepting book donations?
    • No, the Library is not currently accepting book donations through its book drop or curbside service due to the volume of returns it is processing. 
  • Will I accrue fines if I can’t return materials right away? 
    • Fines will not accrue until July 1, 2020 for materials checked out prior to March 17. Items checked out on May 18 or after will begin accruing fines after 28 days as normal.
    • Please note: Items will continue to appear on your account for at least 72 hours after their return, due to new quarantine protocol. This time will not count against your due date (items will be backdated to reflect their actual return date), and fines will not be assessed until July 1, even if you have received an overdue notice.
  • What hours are Library services available?
    • Both curbside and drive-up window service, as well as limited in-branch services, begin at the branch’s normal opening time, but will end one hour earlier than regular operating hours.
    • Please Note: The first hour of in-branch services are reserved for ages 60+ and other members of communities vulnerable to COVID-19.
  • May I pick up another person's holds for them?
    • Yes, you may pick up another person’s materials as long as you can verify the customer's information. You will need the library card of the person whose items you are picking up as well as their name, address, phone number, and birthday.
  • I use both digital and physical items. Do holds on digital books and audiobooks impact the number of holds I can have on physical items?
    • No, the number of digital items you have on hold is separate from physical items.
  • I haven’t placed a hold in the online catalog before. How can I learn to do that?
  • How is the Library decontaminating materials and cleaning surfaces?
    • We are holding all returned items separately from others for at least 72 hours prior to checking them back into the Library’s collection and making them available to other customers, which is recommended by the CDC guidelines. Hard-surface materials like DVDs and CDs will be wiped down if extra cleaning is needed. Using bleach, a disinfectant, or other processes, including extreme heat and microwaves, can damage most books and could lead to charges against your account.   
    • High-touch surfaces are being regularly cleaned throughout the day, and Library locations are closing one hour earlier than their normal closing times to do additional cleaning. 
  •  How long does the COVID-19 virus live on Library materials?
    • The Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) is working with Batelle, a noted testing company and the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) to learn more about how the COVID-19 virus interacts with books, CDs, magazines, and other materials commonly found and used in libraries and museums. MCPL is monitoring the results of the tests and study to help make decisions about how we provide service. If you're interested in the tests being performed as part of the Reopening Archives, Libraries, and Museums (REALM) Information Hub: A COVID-19 Research Project, you can find out more here: https://www.webjunction.org/explore-topics/COVID-19-research-project.html
  • What should I do if I am concerned about having Library materials in my home? 
    • First, consider switching to digital materials for the time being. eAudiobooks and eBooks, as well as streaming music and videos, are available through the Library’s website. 
    • Second, consider placing your checked-out items aside for another day or two, like you would with items that come from the grocery store. 
    • Finally, you might consider wearing a mask and gloves if that makes you feel more comfortable.
    • Customers are asked not to expose Library materials to disinfectants, extreme heat (like from an oven), microwaves, or other chemicals that can damage books, CDs, and DVDs, leading to charges against your account. Most items have metal RFID tags that could catch on fire in a microwave oven. 
    • Sanitizing wipes may be used to carefully wipe plastic covers of books (not the pages), and DVD or CD cases.   
  • When will Library-By-Mail service resume?
    • Library-By-Mail service resumed on May 18. A staff member will be in contact with all current Library-By-Mail customers. Some customers may experience delays in receiving Library-By-Mail materials based on their living facilities’ incoming mail policies.
  • Will my AARP tax help session be rescheduled?
    • Unfortunately, AARP will not be resuming tax help at the Library before the tax deadline on July 15. At this time, they are not scheduling any face to-face appointments. For more information, visit the AARP Tax-Aide website or call them at 1-888-227-7669.
  • Why can’t Library staff go get a book for me when I come to the branch?
    • In order to maintain social distance, to limit contact between customers and staff, and keep up with cleaning high-touch surfaces throughout the day, staff may be limited in their availability to assist with these requests.  Please use the online catalog or call the branch to ask for assistance.
  • Is the Library’s Wi-Fi still working? 
    • Yes, Wi-Fi can be accessed inside and outside each MCPL branch, but we ask that anyone coming to utilize this to maintain social distancing. In addition, customers will be allowed to be inside MCPL branches a maximum of 90 minutes per day.
  • Have you added more choices to your eBooks and eAudiobooks? 
    • We are currently making more than 185,000 titles available to customers digitally, including children’s eBooks, and continue to add new ones. Customers can also access streaming video as well as digital books for children through Tumblebook Library and Bookflix.
  • I had a Library card at one time, but I don’t remember my number and/or I don’t know my PIN (password). What do I do? 
    • Library accounts no longer expire, so if you still have your most recent Library account number, you can use it for ALL digital services.
    • If you no longer have your account/card number (or the one you have is not working), email your name, current address, phone number, email address, and date of birth to info@mymcpl.org to get assistance from a staff member. They will reply within 24 hours when possible.
    • A PIN is not needed to check out eBooks, eAudiobooks, eMagazines, eComics, streaming video, or use databases/online resources. Some of those services require customers to set up an account, but that is separate from your MCPL card number account.
    • A PIN is needed to request materials through the Mid-Continent Public Library catalog. If you have forgotten your PIN, you can use the “Forgot your PIN?” in our online catalog.
  • Can I get help from the Library with my personal electronic device or using online resources?
    • Please send an email including your name and phone number to info@mymcpl.org, and a Library representative will be in touch within 24 hours.  
    • In-person assistance is not available at this time for safety reasons as it requires close contact between staff and customers for a longer period of time.  

Using Your Library Remotely

All customers are encouraged to take advantage of the Library’s digital resources available for adults, teens, and children: 

Learn more at mymcpl.org/GoDigital. 

You may email info@mymcpl.org for assistance with online resources. 

If you don’t have a Mid-Continent Public Library card, you can get immediate access to our online services by signing up for a CardNote: if you already have an MCPL card, you do not need to sign up for a card online. If you have lost your card, email info@mymcpl.org.

Keep in touch and get more information about what the Library has to offer by following our social media accounts.
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Virtual Learning Support

The Library has many resources available to help parents and caregivers faced with the challenge of continuing classroom work or learning. Our Library staff have developed an age-specific list of resources.

MCPL has a variety of resources to help, including Live Homework Help from Tutor.com, which offers students access to live, online tutors who can help both English and Spanish-speaking students in grades K-12 with many subjects. Tutors are available every day from noon to midnight. 

Connect to all student resources at mymcpl.org/homework.

Keeping You Updated

The Library will continue to monitor the recommendations of health officials through this COVID-19 outbreak and will make decisions about services with the highest priority given to the health and safety of our staff, customers, and communities. We know it is a challenging time, and we’ll work hard to continue to communicate further changes in our services.

You also can monitor the Library’s website and/or follow the Library on social media.
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Ways to Keep Yourself and Your Community Healthy

  • Consider wearing a face covering in public.
  • Stay home if you are sick, except to get medical care.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
  • Throw used tissues in the trash right away.
  • Frequently wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60-90% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Maintain social distancing (six feet).
  • Contact a health professional if you have a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing. 

Guidance from the Centers for Disease Control

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Community Resources

COVID-19 Health Update for Jackson, Clay, & Platte Counties

State of Missouri Recovery Plan

Jackson County:

Clay County:

Platte County:

MARC:

Domestic Violence Resources

If you or someone you know are experiencing domestic violence, here are several resources that can help:

Volunteer Information

To find ways to give back to the community during this time, see the United Way of Kansas City’s list of volunteer opportunities in the metro: 

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