MCPL book drops are now open. Curbside service will begin May 18. Learn more about curbside service and MCPL's response to COVID-19. Our virtual branch is available 24/7.

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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. 

Book drops are open: All book drop locations are accepting the return of MCPL materials, including book group books, as well as Interlibrary Loan materials. We are not accepting donated books or other items. More information is in the “How to Return Materials” section below.

Curbside and Drive-Up Window Service: If notified that they are available, customers may begin to pick up materials they have placed holds at branches. You are encouraged to use MCPL’s online catalog to place holds, but staff are available to take holds requests over the phone. Watch this video and learn how to set up an account in the online catalog and place holds.

For the safety of customers and staff, Library staff are required to wear gloves and masks during the pick-up of returned materials from the drop box and the delivery of physical materials to customers. 

Please note that curbside and drive-up window service will end one hour earlier than each branch’s regular closing time during this phase of service. 

Read below for more information about “How to Pick Up Holds,” “Holds Policy and Information During Curbside Service,” “How to Handle Library Materials,” and “Frequently Asked Questions” below.   

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 March 17 until July 1, 2020. Items checked out on May 18 or after will begin accruing fines after 28 days as normal.

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. 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: During this phase of service, customer holds will be limited to up to 20 physical items per account at a time.  
    • Customers with more than 20 holds on physical items on their account prior to May 18: You will be allowed pick up all holds as they become available. Holds on physical items must be reduced below 20 by pick-ups or cancellations in order to place new holds.  
    • Customers with 19 or less holds prior to May 18: You may add new holds on physical items (up to 20), but you will need to pick up available holds at the branch in order to add new ones. 
       
  3. 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 these materials. 
     
  4. To learn how to use MCPL’s online catalog and place holds:

How to Handle Library Materials

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

  • All staff during this phase are required to wear a mask and gloves while working with customers.
  • Implementing new safety procedures for receiving and lending materials as well as helping customers use resources. Staff have been trained on these new procedures as well as the proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE). 
  • Conducting continuous cleaning and disinfecting of all locations.
  • Extending due dates to June 1, 2020, on all items checked out prior to the March 16 closure. No fines will accrue on any items until July 1, 2020.
  • Increasing its collection of digital items including the addition of 5,000 new children’s eBook titles and thousands of new titles available without a wait in OverDrive.
  • Conducting virtual events, including: 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • 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? 
    • We are extending due dates on all currently checked-out items until June 1, 2020, and fines will not accrue until July 1, 2020. 
  • What hours will drive-ups and curbside service operate?
    • Beginning on May 18, service will begin at the branch’s normal opening time, but will end one hour earlier than regular operating hours. 
  • 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 items you can digital items 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?
    • 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. Using bleach, a disinfectant, or other processes, including extreme heat and microwaves, can damage most books and could lead to charges against your account.   
  • 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 branch buildings reopen to the public?
    • We look forward to welcoming all of our customers back to our buildings when it is safe to do so for our staff and for you. 
  • When will Library-By-Mail service resume?
    • Library-By-Mail service will resume 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 and to limit contact between customers and staff, we are not taking in-person requests for books or other materials. 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 from each MCPL branch’s parking lot, but we ask that anyone coming to utilize this to remain in their vehicles, or maintain social distancing.
  • 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.   

Using Your Library Remotely

While MCPL’s physical locations remain closed, customers are encouraged to take advantage of the Library’s digital resources available for adults, teens, and children: 

  • eBooks and eAudiobooks
    • Download the OverDrive or Libby app from the App Store or Google Play Store to access eAudiobooks and eBooks from the Library.
    • Create an account with RBdigital Audiobooks or RBdigital Comics, then download the RBdigital app to access eAudiobooks, eMagazines, and eComics in one place.
  • eMagazines and eNewspapers
  • eMovies and Streaming Video
  • eMusic
    • Stream and download music from Freegal Music and other online services.
  • eResearch

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

With all area students currently at home, 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

  • 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

Community Resources

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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