Amazon Web Services is experiencing an outage today, December 7, 2021. This is affecting a number of MCPL's online resources. Access seems to be intermittent at this time. We apologize for any inconvenience. Learn more.

Back to top

MCPL COVID-19 Information and Updates

Library Shelf with hand mask.jpg

Mid-Continent Public Library continues to monitor the recommendations and guidelines of government and public health officials regarding COVID-19 on a daily basis. The safety of our customers and staff is our primary concern.

Thursday, November 12: The City of Kansas City updated its mask order as of November 5 and no longer requires masks be worn indoors except in schools and on school busses. The Jackson County Legislature removed its mask mandate on November 12.

MCPL branches in Clay, Jackson and Platte Counties, Kansas City, Missouri and under the authority of the Independence, Missouri Health Department will not require masks although per current CDC guidance they are strongly encouraged. Updated information can be found on the City of Kansas City’s website and the Jackson County Health Department website.

Check this page regularly for updates on the Library’s current services.

Currently, MCPL service includes: 

  • Operating Hours: MCPL resumed its normal business hours at all branch locations on June 21. Check the locations page for your branch’s hours.
  • Browsing: Customers may select items from the shelves on their own and check them out using the self-check kiosks at the front of their branch or at branch desks.
  • Meeting Rooms: MCPL's small meeting rooms, capacity 1-10 and free of charge, are available now at most locations and can be booked online or by calling the branch. Please check with individual branches about the availability of large community rooms.  
  • Technology Services: Public computers, fax machines, printers, and copiers are available for use.  
  • Pick-Up of Materials: Customers can retrieve their holds inside the branch. Curbside and drive-up service continue to be available.
  • Returns: Items can be returned to the indoor or outdoor book drop at your branch as well as at branch desks.

Important: 

  • Local health and CDC guidelines: We encourage customers to follow public health guidance from the CDC related to masks.
  • Customers who are waiting for the results of a COVID-19 test or are feeling ill are asked not to visit.

Available Services

MCPL encourages customers to follow public health guidance from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and your local health authority. Customers are asked not to visit a branch if they are waiting for a COVID-19 test result or have any of the known COVID-19 symptoms. 

  • Browsing: Customers may select items from the shelves on their own and check them out from the self-check kiosks at the front of the branches or at branch desks. 
  • Meeting RoomsMCPL’s small meeting rooms, capacity of 1-10 people and free of charge, are available now at most locations and can be booked online or by calling the branch. Please check with individual branches about the availability of large community rooms.
  • Technology Services: Public computers, fax machines, printers, and copiers are available for use.
  • Pick-Up of Materials: Customers can retrieve their holds inside the branch. Curbside and drive-up service continue to be available.   
  • Returns: Items can be returned to the indoor or outdoor book drop at your branch, as well as at branch desks.   

Important:

  • Staff and Customer Safety: MCPL encourages customers to follow public health guidance from the CDC and your local health authority.For more information on measures to keep staff and customers safe, please see the “What the Library Is Doing” section below.
  • Operating hours: Hours on the branch location pages reflect the current opening and closing times.

How to Return Materials

MCPL book drops at all branches (except Farview Neighborhood Library, the Blue Ridge Branch, and the Lee's Summit Branch) are accepting returns of previously checked-out items. 

  • Customers may return items in either indoor or outdoor book drops at any open branch or at desks inside.
  • The Library is not accepting donations at this time.

How to Pick Up Holds

Physical materials that have been placed on hold may be picked up inside in the branch or through curbside or drive-up window service. 

If you have received a notice by email or via postcard that materials you have on hold are available, please use the following procedures:

To pick-up holds inside the branch: 

  • Customers can now pick up their holds from the holds shelves inside the branch without assistance from staff.  

To use drive-up window service:

  1. Proceed to the drive-up window.
  2. Staff will pass items to you in a plastic bag supplied by the Library.

To use curbside service:

  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 signage as directed to curbside service.
  3. Call the branch to let them know you have arrived. Remain in your vehicle or maintain social distancing of at least six feet from other customers and Library staff 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.

Returned items can be placed in the outdoor or indoor book drops and at branch desks.

Placing Holds in the Online Catalog

While customers are now welcome to visit the branch and browse for Library materials, they are also welcome to continue to place holds on books, movies, and CDs in the online catalog and then pick them up via curbside service.

  1. To place holds:
    • Visit the online catalog and put items on hold in advance.  
    • MCPL staff members at each branch are available to assist customers with placing holds by phone.
       
  2. 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. 
     
  3. 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) worked with Batelle, a noted testing company and the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) to conduct a study 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. Learn more.

Current research suggests that COVID-19 spreads mainly through close contact from person to person, including between people who are physically near each other (within about 6 feet). The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that while it may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, this isn’t the main way the virus spreads. If you are concerned about using Library materials, follow the suggestions after the next question below. 

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

If you are concerned about contact with Library materials:

  • 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 delaying pick-up of your holds for a few days and place 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

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

  • Encouraging customers to follow public health guidance from the CDC and your local health authority during visits to MCPL locations.
  • Discouraging customers from visiting if they are ill or are waiting for the results of a COVID-19 test. 
  • Regularly cleaning high-touch surfaces throughout the day.
  • Following social distancing protocols and during staff interactions with customers.
  • Requiring staff to stay home if they feel ill.
  • Continuing curbside pick-up of materials.
  • Scheduling regular cleanings of branch buildings 

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

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Do I have to wear a mask?
    • As of November 11, 2021, masks are not required to be worn indoors per local health authorities. Per current CDC guidance, masks are still encouraged in all other MCPL locations. The health and safety of both staff and customers remain among the Library’s top priorities.
  • Are branch buildings open to the public? 
    • Beginning Wednesday, February 24, customers may visit branches to independently browse for books, movies, and CDs in addition to using technology services, including public computers, fax machines, printers, and copiers. In addition, branches will continue to operate curbside or drive-up window service. Wi-Fi is available in branch buildings as well as the parking lots. Self-check kiosks can be used to pay bills and check out materials. 
    • Customers can return materials at desks inside the branch or through indoor and outdoor bookdrops.  
    • Holds can be picked up in the branch or through curbside and drive-up window service.  
  • Are book drops open to return items? 
    • Yes, all book drops in the branch are open for returns, as well as those outside. Book drops are not available at Farview Neighborhood Library, Midwest Genealogy Center, or at branches undergoing renovation, but items can be returned at any MCPL branch.
  • Is the Library still quarantining returns?   
    • As of May 3, the Library is no longer quarantining returned items. Current research suggests that COVID-19 spreads mainly through close contact from person to person, including between people who are physically near each other (within about 6 feet). The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that while it may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, this isn’t the main way the virus spreads.  
  • What hours are Library services available?
  • 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?
    • Although the Library is no longer quarantining returned materials, high-touch surfaces are being cleaned regularly throughout the day, and Library locations will continue to be cleaned thoroughly on a regular basis. 
  •  How long does the COVID-19 virus live on Library books?
    • Current research suggests that COVID-19 spreads mainly through close contact from person to person, including between people who are physically near each other (within about 6 feet). The Centers for Disease Control reports that while it may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, this isn’t the main way the virus spreads. If you are concerned about using Library materials, follow the suggestions following the question below. 
  • 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.   
  • Where can I access the Library’s Wi-Fi 
    • Wi-Fi can be accessed inside and outside each MCPL branch from the parking lot, but we ask that anyone coming to utilize this to 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?
    • Staff may be able to help if they can maintain social distance and can solve an issue quickly. If not, you may send and 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 that requires less than six feet between staff and customers for a long period of time is not available at this time for safety reasons.  

Using Your Library Remotely

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

  • Virtual Programs
    • MCPL is presenting a variety of virtual programs for children and adults on its social media pages.   For a complete list of virtual programs, visit mymcpl.org/events.

    • A variety of programs, including Storytimes are also available to view on the Library’s YouTube channel.

  • 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

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

  • Follow public health guidance from the CDC and local public health authorities.
  • 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

COVID-19 Resources for Families information

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: 

Was this page helpful? Yes No