Responding to Coronavirus (COVID-19)
This page provides updates on the Library's response to the coronavirus outbreak. (current as of 7/13/2020)
PLEASE NOTE: As of July 13, 2020, announcements and updates on CLP's Summer 2020 Reopening Plan will be posted here. Please bookmark the Reopening Plan page for current information on services currently available at your library location.
We are planning a safe return to the Library and taking each step in our phased reopening with the utmost caution. We are prepared to slow or halt the roll-out of limited in-person service, if necessary. Everything we are doing is with safety in mind.
We’re Back … Almost!
Thank you for keeping our books and other library materials safe during the COVID-19 pandemic closure. We know how stressful the past few months have been and we are waiving all fines on library materials for the foreseeable future. When and where to return library materials continues to be one of the most asked questions around our reopening plan.
Good news! On Monday, June 15, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and our colleagues around the county are hosting a one-day book return event.
** Please read carefully for book drop locations and times **
Monday, June 15
9 am – 12 pm
- Oakmont Carnegie Library (drive up offered)
700 Allegheny River Blvd., 15139
- Whitehall Public Library
100 Borough Park Dr., 15236
10 am – 4 pm
- Mt. Lebanon Public Library
16 Castle Shannon Blvd., 15228
10 am – 5 pm
- CLP – Allegheny
1230 Federal Street, 15212
- CLP – Brookline
708 Brookline Blvd., 15226
- CLP – East Liberty
130 S. Whitfield Street, 15206
- CLP – Hill District
2177 Centre Avenue, 15219
- CLP – Main (Oakland)
4400 Forbes Avenue, 15213
- CLP – West End
47 Wabash Street, 15220
1 – 4 pm
- Northern Tier Regional Library (drive up only)
4015 Dickey Rd., 15044
- Robinson Township Library (drive up only)
1000 Church Hill Rd., 15205
If you are unable to return your books on the 15th, don’t panic. Many libraries are currently accepting book returns. Please check with your neighborhood library for details. If you are not able or are uncomfortable returning your items at this time, please hold onto them until we are able to welcome you back into the Library.
During the event, we ask that you respect social distancing protocols and wear a face covering. If you have a fever or are not feeling well, please do not visit the Library.
A quick note: returned items will not be immediately reflected in your account. To limit the spread of COVID-19, libraries are quarantining all items for at least 72 hours before handling. If your account is not updated within seven business days, please let us know.
Starting June 23 Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh will offer curbside service at the following locations to pick up items already placed on hold (Tuesday – Saturday; 10 am – 5 pm):
- CLP – Allegheny
- CLP – Brookline
- CLP – East Liberty
- CLP – Hill District
- CLP – Main (Oakland)
This is the first step in our phased reopening plan. Outdoor book return bins will be conveniently located during curbside hours to accept items you wish to return. At this time, staff are not able to take items directly from you.
Staff have already begun calling patrons whose requested items are ready. Holds placed prior to April 8, 2020 will be fulfilled in the order in which they were received. As our ability to distribute materials resumes, you will receive notices via email, telephone or text. When you get this notice, please call the location on the notice to arrange a pick-up time. We appreciate your patience – we have a lot of requests to fill!
Our Commitment to You!
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh has joined a group of 30 museums and cultural institutions from across Southwestern Pennsylvania to collaboratively prepare for our organization’s safe re-opening. We are working together to develop and share best practices, in conjunction with federal, state and local recommendations. These best practices will reflect the unique needs of our Library and will help to ensure that you feel comfortable and prepared when you return to our spaces.
Drumroll please ….. our phased return to in-person service begins on Tuesday, June 23 with curbside service at five locations! Thank you for your patience and understanding while we worked through logistics to keep everyone safe and limit exposure to the COVID-19 virus. CLP staff are preparing for county-wide delivery of library materials, book returns and curbside service at select locations. We will refine our processes and procedures at these locations first so that we can comfortably extend curbside service to all other CLP locations in the near future. We’re also working behind-the-scenes to assess each location for safety and social distancing as we continue to think through how to increase the in-person services available.
Curbside service (Starting June 23)
• CLP – Allegheny
• CLP – Brookline
• CLP – East Liberty
• CLP – Hill District
• CLP – Main (Oakland)
Here’s everything you need to know about curbside service:
We want to assure you that we have been working very hard to make curbside service as smooth, comfortable and safe as possible. Starting the week of June 8, staff will begin calling patrons who already have items ready for check out to make an appointment to pick up their item(s). We appreciate your patience – we have a lot of requests to fill! Holds placed prior to April 8, 2020 will be fulfilled in the order in which they were received. Only existing holds made through the five curbside locations can be fulfilled. At this time we are not transferring holds from other locations.
Pickup times will be scheduled every 15 minutes. Due to high volume, if you miss your scheduled pick-up date/time, your items will be removed from your account and you will have to re-request these holds over the phone with our reference staff.
If you have a fever or are not feeling well, please do not come to the Library to pick up your holds. Contact us to let us know you cannot make your pick-up time.
As our ability to distribute materials resumes, you will receive notices via email, telephone or text. When you get this notice, please call your location to arrange a pick-up time. All visitors will need to have a confirmed appointment time in order to pick up their items.
When you arrive at our curbside tent:
• Please plan to arrive during your prearranged pick-up window. Call the location to announce your arrival. You may be asked to verify a piece of personal information to determine identity.
• We ask that you respect social distancing protocols and stand behind the line marked on the sidewalk. Staff are required to wear a face mask and maintain social distancing protocols. We ask that you do the same when using curbside service.
• Staff will retrieve your prepacked items and bring them right to you. They will place the bag on a table. Then, you may step forward and retrieve your items.
• We would love to chat and catch up, but please do not linger or congregate in front of the Library. If this occurs, our curbside service will be discontinued.
You asked – we listened! During curbside hours (Tuesday – Saturday, 10 am – 5 pm), outdoor book returns will be conveniently located to accept items you wish to return. At this time, staff are not able to take items directly from you. To limit the spread of COVID-19, we are quarantining all items before processing. Please note that your account will not immediately reflect the returns for at least 72 hours. If you are not able to return your items at this time, please hold onto them until all of our locations are open. Fines are still being waived.
Plans are also underway for a 1-day county-wide book collection event to return your borrowed items, which would take place at multiple libraries in mid-June. Additional information will be shared soon.
Our commitment to safety:
• Returned items are quarantined for at least 72 hours before staff process them.
• Items with plastic covers that appear visibly dirty will be subject to additional cleaning.
• The Library’s quarantine plan exceeds the time that the CDC indicates that the COVID-19 virus can survive on paper or plastic.
• All staff handling library materials are required to wear a mask and gloves.
That’s ok. We’re here for you. Browse our eResource collection for digital books, streaming music and videos available 24/7 through our website. While you’re there, check out this month’s line-up of virtual programs and remote services.
We miss you, Pittsburgh, and can’t wait to see you soon!
In-Person Programs, Outreach and Meeting Room Use Suspended Through August 31st
Community response to the Library’s remote services and virtual programs has been overwhelmingly positive. Although we do not have a target date for reopening our buildings to the community, we are working to slowly and safely increase in-person services. Opening up our system’s physical spaces will be slow, deliberate and will occur in stages in accordance with the Commonwealth’s guidelines in order to limit exposure and spread of the virus.
We are extending the suspension of all Library in-person programming, outreach and meeting room reservations through August 31, 2020. If we must extend the cancellations beyond that date, we will provide notice as soon as we are able.
When we reopen to the public our attention will be focused on expanding virtual offerings while providing essential, safe in-person library services as advised by the Office of Commonwealth Libraries.
On Friday, May 8, 2020, Governor Tom Wolf announced that Allegheny County will officially move into the “yellow” phase of the Commonwealth’s three step Process to Reopen Pennsylvania plan on May 15. While this news was much anticipated by the people of our community there is still much speculation on what this designation means for our region’s public libraries.
We are all eager to resume our daily activities as soon as possible, but it is clear that COVID-19 and the impacts on our community will remain with us for the foreseeable future. While we don’t have an exact date to resume in-person services just yet, rest assured that we are thinking about how we can responsibly provide access to materials and resources within these new constraints.
Library staff are following the guidelines of health officials and working with relevant agencies on safety procedures and in establishing a reliable supply chain to purchase cleaning and disinfection solution, masks and other protective items. Safety is paramount to any responsible opening plan. Opening up our system’s physical spaces will be slow, deliberate and will occur in stages in accordance with the Commonwealth’s guidelines in order to limit exposure and spread of the virus.
We’re Moving Forward
Library Services – at a Distance
We miss seeing your face in our spaces. We miss being part of your neighborhood. We miss being part of your family’s routine. We miss each and every one of you.
The Library is faced with a very complex and unprecedented situation. We are all eager to resume our daily activities as soon as possible, but it is clear that COVID-19 and the impacts on our community will remain with us for the foreseeable future. Each day we grapple with questions about how this pandemic is affecting and will continue to affect library service moving forward. What will our services look like? How will social distancing impact our spaces? What is the best way to handle and ship circulating materials? How do we support our community during this time?
Opening up our system’s physical spaces will be deliberate and will follow the guidelines of health officials and the Office of Commonwealth Libraries. Our priority is to limit exposure and spread of COVID-19. While we don’t know when we will resume in-person services just yet, rest assured that we are thinking about how we can provide access to materials and resources within these new constraints when that time comes.
Brian, our Safety and Security Manager snapped this image the other day during his rounds.
It is a stark contrast to the vibrancy that resonated throughout our buildings pre–pandemic. People are the heart of every library, and while we can’t be with you in person, our staff is working to make sure the Library is here for you – albeit – at a distance.
Please reach out to us via chat, firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave a message at 412-622-3114 to schedule a phone appointment with a librarian. We are currently offering the following services over the phone:
A business librarian can help you use our databases and other online resource to do research for a small business, including:
- Business plans
- Industry research
- Market research
Librarians are available to help you search and apply for jobs online, and prepare a resume, including:
- Cover letter review
- Mock interview
- Online job search/application
- Resume review
Librarians can help you learn to use your device to access CLP resources (eBooks, databases, etc.), including any of the following:
Librarians can offer help with a limited selection of digital literacy topics. While we cannot troubleshoot issues with your individual device or provide support for specific applications, we can assist with:
- Registering an email account
- Finding information online
- Finding or navigating a website
- Writing and editing a document in Word
Librarians can help nonprofit organizations seek grant funding using the Foundation Directory Online.
Thank you for helping us get through this difficult time.
Program and Meeting Room Cancellation to Continue Through May 31
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh will remain closed until state and local authorities let us know that it is safe to reopen. This means that we do not yet know when we will resume regular service.
In order to make it possible for our partners, our staff, and our communities to plan for the months ahead, we have decided to cancel all programming, outreach and meeting room reservations through May 31, 2020. If we must extend the cancellations beyond that date, we will provide notice as soon as we are able.
If you have any questions, please feel free to email your usual library contact. However, please understand that we may not be able to reschedule your program, outreach or meeting room use until we resume regular operations.
We are also unable to accommodate additional holds on physical materials.
As of today, our system has reached its capacity for holds on physical materials. We are unable to accommodate additional holds at this time. This change does not impact holds on eResources like eBooks and audio books.
Holds placed prior to April 8, 2020 will be frozen. When we reopen, they will be fulfilled in the order they were received.
Thank you for your support, and we are counting the days until we can be with our community in person once again.
We’re here for you!
Libraries by nature are community spaces. It saddens us that we are not able to talk with you directly, hear about your day and celebrate the little victories together.
Unfortunately, like many businesses in our community, our facilities remain closed until further notice.
It’s been a rough couple of weeks for all of us. Our community is hurting right now, struggling to pay bills and keeping small businesses afloat — anxious for what the future holds.
While we can’t be there in person to help you through this difficult time, our librarians are working to adjust our services so you have virtual access to what you may need right now.
- Connect with other readers through our “Stay In & Read” challenge or join CLP’s first virtual Book Club.
- Get the hang of CLP’s eResources—books, movies, music and more—with these helpful tutorials.
- Introduce kids to virtual storytimes, songs and rhymes and Teenspace activities on our social media.
- Share technology tips or resources for urgent needs with a neighbor or loved one.
- Keep your mind and hands busy—get crafty with (virtual) friends or explore your family tree.
- Remind a teen that Learn & Earn, the Ralph Munn Creative Writing Contest and the Labsy Award application periods are all open!
- Browse the online resources available to job hunters, small businesses and nonprofits.
- Be sure to fill out the 2020 census and consider applying for a mail-in ballot to cast your vote in the Primary Election.
- Mark your calendars and show your support on Thursday, April 23—National Library Giving Day!
Our team is small, but mighty! We are reading your comments on social media and responding to our library information line (412-622-3114), email (email@example.com) and virtual chat. We appreciate your kind words – they keep us going through this unprecedented journey.
Stay connected and safe. We will get through this together.
Message to our Community
While our heart is in public service, right now our priority must be public safety. In light of Governor Tom Wolf’s stay-at-home order, in conjunction with the recommendations of the County Executive, the PA Department of Education and the Office of Commonwealth Libraries, we regret that all Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh facilities must remain closed and all in-person services suspended until further notice.
If you are in possession of library materials, please hold onto them for us until we can safely reopen. We want you to enjoy your items without worrying about fines and fees.
The Library has always been here to help our community through difficult times. Our facilities may be closed, but we continue to share resources through streaming and download services. Our storytimes, book clubs and reading challenges may now look a little different as we practice social distancing, but we are here to help you find educational and creative outlets to get you through this crisis.
Pittsburghers are never ones to shy away from a challenge. Now is your chance to catch up on your reading and show your community spirit. If you haven’t signed up for our Stay In and Read reading challenge now is your opportunity. So far 1,537 of your neighbors have already joined us, logging 841 books/eBooks the first day it opened. You make us proud!
As our days at home continue we plan on bringing you more virtual content. Stay tuned!
Remember, we are all in this together.
We are still here to assist you with library card registration, downloadable resources and general questions. While we are closed, a small group of managers are monitoring our library information line at 412-622-3114 and email address firstname.lastname@example.org. A virtual chat option is also available from 10 am – 5 pm daily on the Library’s website.
We’re looking forward to the next time we’ll be able to see you in person!
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh Suspends In-Person Services
Until the Library is able to safely open, fines and fees are waived on all checked items. Managers are preparing virtual programming.
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (CLP) took the preventative measure last week of temporarily closing its system of 19 locations due to concern of the COVID-19 virus.
There have been no documented reports of any patron or staff who have been exposed to COVID-19.
Patrons are still able to continue to enjoy the library items they have already borrowed before the temporary closure. Officials are asking patrons to hold onto all previously checked out materials until library buildings are safely able to open. During this time, CLP is relaxing its borrowing policy, suspending all late fees and extending due dates. Library Managers are exploring streaming and virtual programming, as well as brainstorming ways to provide library service in a way that is safe for staff and the community.
Patrons in need of library materials can always access a vast collection of digital materials free with any Allegheny County library card, including eBooks and downloadable audiobooks; streaming TV and movies; magazines, music and more. Collection Development Department Managers are in the process of working in collaboration with eResource vendors to increase access to online books and audio. Instructions to download material is available on the Library’s webpage: carnegielibrary.org/eresources.
In the past few days, Library Managers have been inundated with questions concerning library cards, fines, holds, eResources and more. An FAQ has been developed to alleviate patron concerns. A Community Resource Guide with reliable information about the pandemic and how residents can protect themselves from exposure is also being updated.
Library officials continue to monitor news and updates provided by the CDC, Allegheny County Health Department and the PA Department of Health related to the COVID-19 pandemic daily. As the situation, changes the Library will provide updates at carnegielibrary.org/coronavirus.
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh to Temporarily Close to the Public, at of End of Business Saturday, March 14, 2020
Pittsburgh, PA (March 13, 2020) — Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (CLP) is taking the preventative measure of closing its system of 19 locations due to concern of the COVID-19 virus. The system will close to the public at the end of the day Saturday, March 14, 2020 and remain closed through Tuesday, March 31, 2020. On Saturday, all CLP locations will operate with restricted services, including material selections and holds pick-ups. All computer access and programs will be suspended.
There have been no documented reports of any patron or staff who have been exposed to COVID-19. However, the health and safety of our patrons is of the utmost importance.
“It is with a heavy heart that we need to take the extraordinary step of closing to the public,” said Mary Frances Cooper, president & director of Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, “We understand the impact this decision has on our community. In the interest of our public’s health we cannot in good faith maintain the cleaning routine and enforce the social distancing necessary to combat the spread of this virus.”
During this time, the Library is relaxing its borrowing policy. All late fees will be suspended and due dates extended during this period. Patrons will still be able to continue to enjoy items they have already borrowed. As always, CLP maintains a vast collection of digital materials free with any Allegheny County library card, including eBooks and downloadable audiobooks; streaming TV and movies; magazines, music and more.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, the Library has:
- increased the frequency of cleaning and sanitizing facilities.
- provided disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer to patrons
- removed items, such as toys, puzzles and other interactive items, from public spaces
- canceled outreach programs to senior centers
- canceled programs, events and meeting room bookings
- requested that all patrons and staff practice good hygienic practices, such as hand washing and social distancing to avoid potential contagions
Staff will report to their respective locations on Monday, March 16 to determine ways the system can provide quality library services during this national crisis. Library officials are monitoring news and updates provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Allegheny County Health Department related to the COVID-19 pandemic daily. As the situation, changes the Library will provide updates at carnegielibrary.org/coronavirus.
“It is important to remember that COVID-19 isn’t connected to race, ethnicity or nationality,” Cooper explained. “Stigma will not help fight the illness. Sharing accurate information from trusted sources is critical to reduce misinformation.”
The safety of staff and library users is our first priority. Right now we are taking additional steps beyond regular practices to maintain services to our communities.
What we’re doing:
- Actively monitoring news and updates provided by the CDC, Allegheny County Health Department and the PA Department of Health related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Increasing the frequency of cleaning and sanitizing in our facilities. Disinfectant wipes are available so that you may clean computers or other surfaces during your visit.
- Removing some items, such as toys, puzzles and other interactive items, from public spaces.
- Requesting all customers and staff practice social distancing by maintaining a 3-6 foot physical space from one another to avoid potential contagions.
What you can do:
- Wash your hands often following the CDC handwashing guidelines.
- 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.
- Avoid hugging, handshaking and other close physical contact that can spread contagions.
- Stay home if you are experiencing a cough, fever, shortness of breath or are feeling sick. Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s eResources give card holders 24/7 free access to books, movies, music and more.
We are also keeping track of other library closures in Allegheny County. We will be updating this list as we receive information from our colleagues.