Monday, May 4, 2020

Library Book Drops Now Open, Contact-Free Curbside Pickup Begins May 11

Patrons who have library books to return may now use the outdoor and drive-up book drops at all four Forsyth County Public Library locations.

Books, CDs, books on CD, DVDs, and read-alongs can be returned in the drive-up book return bins at the Cumming and Hampton Park libraries, as well as the automated book returns at the Post Road and Sharon Forks libraries.

Items that are normally returned to the Ask Us desks, including books borrowed through the Interlibrary Loan service and oversized materials such as Storytime Takeout kits and Georgia State Parks backpack kits, should not be returned at this time. Patrons are also asked not to donate books at this time.

Returned items may stay on patron accounts for up for four days, as all returned materials will be quarantined before replacement on library shelves. Returned items held in quarantine will not be considered overdue and fines will not accrue.

Curbside Pickup Begins May 11

Library branches remain closed, but library staff members are preparing for a contact-free curbside pickup service that will allow patrons to check out items from the library’s physical collection.

“Our patrons have been wonderful at making the switch to eLibrary services and we appreciate their enthusiasm for reading eBooks and listening to eAudiobooks. Patrons who wish to check out physical books will be able to do so using the library’s new Contact-Free Curbside Pickup service beginning May 11,” says Library Director Anna Lyle.

“While we still intend to follow social distancing guidelines from public health authorities, we’re developing this service as a temporary way to get books into the hands of readers in our community.”

Contact-Free Curbside Pickup will be available Monday through Thursday from 12:00 noon to 7:00 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 12:00 noon to 5:00 p.m.

Library cardholders may place holds on physical materials in the library’s online catalog just as they normally would, and then call the library at 770-781-9840 to make an appointment to pick up any available materials at their preferred branch.

Patrons who wish to check out print materials but aren’t sure what they want to read can ask for assistance from a librarian who will select materials based on the patron’s needs and preferences and prepare them for curbside pickup.

At their designated pickup time, patrons will park in the designated Contact-Free Curbside Pickup spaces, stay in their vehicle, and call the posted phone number to alert library staff to their arrival.

Patrons with limited mobility may request delivery to their vehicle. Otherwise, library staff will check the items out on the patron’s card and then place a bag containing the items on a table near the library entrance. Then the patron may exit their vehicle to pick up the bag.

Librarians Are Ready to Help

“We’re accustomed to delivering personalized service and this contact-free method of delivering books and hosting programs online feels a little strange to everyone, both patrons and staff,” explains Lyle.

“We want our community to know that we are still here for you. We’re still available to answer your reference questions, help you sign up for a library card, and even help you find your next favorite book.”

Over the last few weeks, library staff launched a new live chat service to assist patrons.

Live Chat is available on the library’s website Monday through Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and Sunday from 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

“Patrons have discovered our new Live Chat service and our staff has been so happy to answer questions and simply reconnect with the people we’d usually see in our branches,” explains Lyle.

FCPL continues to offer an email-based Ask a Librarian service. Patrons can also get in touch with the library by calling the main line at 770-781-9840 or by sending messages on Facebook Messenger or Instagram Direct.

Virtual Programs for All Ages

Curbside pickup and real-time, online chat are just a few of the ways Forsyth County’s libraries have adapted to rapid change brought on by the Coronavirus pandemic.

“I’m so pleased with how quickly and skillfully our staff adapted to delivering programs online. Our Youth Services team went to work right away to determine books that could be read online without infringing upon intellectual property rights and began delivering twice-weekly Online Storytimes and other programs for kids and teens,” reports Lyle.

The Information Services team also launched a series of book club discussions, craft tutorials, and yoga demonstrations for adults.

Special online events featuring authors, performers, and guest lecturers are also planned.

Master storyteller Barry Stewart Mann will lead a celebration of El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Children's Day/Book Day) on the library’s YouTube channel on Tuesday, May 12 at 10:00 a.m. Mann is expected to tell such beloved stories as  “The Blue Frog” and “The Best Mariachi in the World.”

Award-winning children’s book author Lola M. Schaefer will lead an online workshop for aspiring children’s book writers on Sunday, May 17 at 2:00 p.m. Schaefer has published more than 280 books for children with trade, school/library, and classroom publishers, including The Bear and The Star published by Greenwillow Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, in 2019.

“Some of our patrons – especially those with children at home – have shared how these online programs bring them a sense of connection to familiar faces and encourage kids to find a bit of normal in their new, not-so-normal routines. It’s our pleasure to have a small part in bringing our community together online until we can be together again in person,” added Lyle.

Information about Contact-Free Curbside Pickup, online programs for kids and adults, and requesting reading recommendations is available on the library’s website at www.forsythpl.org.