Library Updates

Update on the Northfield Branch Reopening Plans
July 29, 2020

We are doing our best to move the plans for Northfield forward, and are planning to do it appropriately and safely. This week we have already done the following things to get the ball rolling:

  • We started conversations with our facilities team who will need to do an assessment of the work needed (plexiglass barriers, added supplies, added cleaning rotations, etc.) to prepare and maintain the building for various stages of reopening beginning with the simplest step, which is curbside service. They have informed me that it will take them at least two weeks to prepare from a facilities standpoint. They should be sending me a list of tasks that they need to complete this week.
  • We started a conversation with the municipality about the airflow within the Northfield Branch, and how we can increase the airflow to ensure that we are doing our due diligence to make it a safe environment for staff and patrons (when we get to that stage). They told us that they can increase the airflow, and but we do not know details about this yet. I have also included our Winnetka facilities team to make sure that we try to get the Northfield Branch to the same/similar levels of air flow if possible at both facilities, as they’ve done the research on the safety of various airflow levels. Everyone is communicating and we will determine next steps.
  • We are formulating a Northfield Exploratory Group made up of staff to provide their input/ideas about reopening since they are the front-line workers in the space and passionate about getting the branch up and running. The intent is to utilize their knowledge about the facility and the patron base to inform our decisions moving forward. There is a lot of excitement about this group, and I will be scheduling their first meeting soon.
  • We are launching a staff survey about the reopening at Winnetka and future steps at Northfield to get staff feedback and learn from the past as we move forward. I’m sure there are things we can improve upon, and that feedback will inform how we proceed.

We are making every effort to seek information and make decisions in a timely manner.

Winnetka Library is Open with Reduced Hours.

The main floor of the Winnetka library location is open with limited hours and services. Patrons can enter the main floor of the Winnetka location to browse for materials and use library computers. Curbside service will continue.

All patrons 2 years of age or older will be required to wear a mask while inside the library. Patrons who do not wear a mask will be encouraged to utilize our curbside service. Patrons will be admitted to the building on a metered basis by a library staff member, due to reduced building capacity and state guidelines. Patrons are encouraged to grab and go and not linger in the building to allow for easier social distancing.

Library hours will be as follows:

Monday – Thursday: 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Friday – Saturday: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sunday: 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Questions about our Buildings and Operations

How can I get in touch with the library?

Our staff is working remotely while the building is closed. We are available by email or you can call 847-446-7220 and leave a message. We will reply to your question as soon as possible. Please check our updated service hours.

I have books checked out at my home. What should I do with them?

We are currently accepting returns at the Winnetka location on a staggered basis, based on the first letter of your last name.

When can I borrow items from the physical collection? Can you offer curbside pickup?

We are offering Curbside Pickup of holds by appointment at the Winnetka Library. Patrons will be able to place holds for Winnetka only items.

How will you ensure the safety of staff and patrons when you reopen the building?

We will apply the recommendations of public health authorities and our professional organizations to help keep our staff and community safe and healthy. Considerations include maintaining social distancing, providing staff with protective equipment, and maintaining thorough cleaning procedures. We will share more on this page as details develop.

Why isn’t the Northfield Branch Reopening Yet?

Unfortunately, the size of the Northfield Branch does not allow our staff to work while safely following social distancing guidelines. Once we get the Winnetka reopening running smoothly, we will turn our focus to accessing the Northfield collection, planning small in-person programs, and then, if possible during phase 4, reopening Northfield on a limited basis.

We look forward to offering services at the Northfield Branch again as social distancing guidelines ease, and as we navigate various stages of reopening.

Information About Your Library Card and Account

Can I get a library card during the building closure?

Yes! Fill out our online application, and we will contact you with a library card number.

What if my card is expired?

All library cards that have expired (from Sept. 1, 2019) have been reactivated, so patrons can access our digital library. The new expiration date will be August 1, 2020.

What will happen to items I have on hold?

Your holds will be honored during Curbside Pickup. You will be called when your items are available to pick up.

Can I place new holds on the physical collection?

Yes, you can place holds through our catalog. We will be filling holds through the Curbside Pickup Service until we reopen the buildings.

How can I get help with my library account?

We are available by email or you can call 847-446-7220 and leave a message. We will reply to your question as soon as possible.

Accessing Our Online Collections and Programs

How do I check out eBooks and eAudiobooks with my library card?

We offer eBooks and eAudiobooks through a number of great platforms. Learn more about our eBooks and eAudiobooks.

Do you have movies and television shows I can stream online?

Yes! Our digital collections include a wide variety of shows and movies that you can watch with your library card. Learn more about our digital collections.

I want an eBook or eAudiobook that is not in our online collection. Can I request it?

Yes! You can suggest that we purchase the item through our online request form.

Are you offering programs during the building closure?

Yes! We have virtual programs for all ages, including all new storytimes, concerts, informational lectures and more. All of our virtual programs are listed on our calendar.

What about programs and the Summer Reading Program?

As of now, all library programming continues to be virtual. Library staff are hard at work to develop a great Summer Reading Program that will incorporate virtual programming but also provide activities families can do outdoors, and some take-away activities and no touch programming. Please follow us online and watch for the Library newsletter for more specific information on Summer Reading.

Do I need any special software to access your virtual programs?

Just an internet-connected computer or device; you don’t need anything special. We host our programs primarily on Zoom. To attend a virtual event hosted on Zoom, register on our online calendar and we will send you a link ahead of the event.

I was looking forward to an event on your calendar. Are you rescheduling it?

We hope so! We will work with our previously scheduled presenters and performers to schedule virtual programs, if possible.

Can I book a room for a date in the future?

We are not reserving meeting or study rooms at this time. We will announce when we are accepting room reservations here on our website and on Facebook.

The library buildings have been closed since March 13 in response to COVID-19. Read our earlier statements and closing information.

View the Response Plan

Winnetka-Northfield Public Library District COVID-19 Response Plan

This document ties specific library services and actions to each Restore Illinois Plan phase that is described in the State’s recovery plan. It is important to remember that this pandemic is fluid and at any time over the next year or more we may experience sharp increases in the number of COVID-19 cases here in Illinois. As such we need to be prepared to move up or down this ladder of phases as needed and in compliance with direction from the Governor.