COVID-19: Planning for Our Return to Service

Dear Library Customer,

As the state continues to ReStart Ohio, the Library continues to flesh out a plan for returning to physical service. Critical pre-opening preparations, including the development of safety and service protocols, are currently our focus. Among those preparations are acquiring protective equipment and materials (including clear dividers for staff and public spaces); developing procedures for collecting materials and quarantining them before returning them to Library shelves; and planning workflows required for drive-thru window and curbside pick-up service.

We intend to return to physical service in a measured and cautious fashion that will help us keep our staff and our customers as safe as we can. We urge everyone to work together to support the well-being of all: practice physical distancing, wear face coverings when in public, and wash hands frequently and properly. We need to care not only about our individual health but also about the health of those with whom we share our amazing community.

I’m very happy to announce that Library phone service will resume on Tuesday, May 19. Customers can check their account, place a hold, or learn the answers to questions (both light-hearted and serious) by calling 330-643-9103. Phone service will be available 10 am to 6 pm, Monday through Friday.

I’m also very happy to share that the Library has added auto-renewal to its services for customers, a feature that more and more public libraries around the country are providing. Borrowed items will now auto-renew, making it easier to keep items without worrying about due dates. Overdue fines will not accrue while the buildings are closed. Once we begin offering physical service, items with holds will not renew so that they are returned for the next customer on the list to enjoy.

Finally, while our buildings are closed, and during the period of limited, phased-in service that is being planned, we will not be accepting donations of books, magazines, and other materials. We appreciate our customers’ generosity and will notify the public as soon as donations can resume. If you are interested in more information about providing financial support separate from the Library’s on-going tax support, please click on this link:

As I’ve stated before, we miss serving our community beyond the virtual service that I hope you’ve enjoyed. We will continue to keep you updated on our plans to restart access to the Library’s physical collection, and ultimately to the buildings.

In the meantime, stay safe, stay healthy, and accept my best wishes for you and yours.

Pam Hickson-Stevenson
Executive Director
Akron-Summit County Public Library

Dear Library Customer,

While the ASCPL buildings remain closed, teams of Library staff are developing plans to re-open our library buildings and restart library services in the safest way we possibly can. Your health and safety, along with the health and safety of Library staff, continue to be our top priorities.

As our state moves toward a re-opening of business based on Governor DeWine’s Responsible ReStart Ohio, the Library’s plans feature a slow, cautious, and phased-in return to service. For this reason, all Library buildings will remain closed until at least May 31. We want to make sure we have the quantity and types of supplies needed and that we have developed protocols and procedures in order to conform to best practices for operating during a pandemic. Also, all Library programming has been cancelled through June 30.

We plan to begin accepting returns before we open but are still researching the safest way to manage the flood of returned items we are expecting. (Our customers currently have more than 300,000 physical items on their Library cards!) Please keep your eyes open for an announcement about opening our book returns in the next several weeks.

Additionally, please remember that we have many wonderful resources and services you can use online.

While we are happy to be able to serve the public in these new ways at this time, we are sad that we cannot yet open our doors. There is no substitute for the relationships we have developed with all of you, and we can’t wait to restore full library service as soon as we can do so safely.

I hope you are staying well and safe. On behalf of the staff, we miss you and can’t wait to see you again.

Pam Hickson-Stevenson
Executive Director

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