OAK RIDGE, Tenn. — Among the many government services that suddenly stopped when COVID-19 barged into our lives is the public library system. Suddenly many of us could no longer go to the library and pick out a book, a movie or a game to play.
The Oak Ridge Public Library is made a way to fix that for their cardholders.
On May 18, it started a curbside pick-up service so cardholders could reserve an item in advance and then go retrieve it -- all from a safe social distance, according to city spokeswoman Lauren Gray.
Curbside pickup will take place Monday-Friday from 1 p.m. – 6 p.m. You will need a current library card in good standing and a PIN.
Here is what you need to do to participate:
To place holds on materials, you will need to go to orpl.org and click on the Catalog tab or call (865) 425-3455, option 4. From there, you may search for and place holds on books, audiobooks, music CDs and DVDs. Patrons will be notified via text, email, or phone call when their materials are ready to be picked up.
When your materials are ready for pick up, park in one of the parking spaces designated for library pick up and call the number on the sign. You will be asked for your name and the last four digits of your library card, as well as the number of your parking space.
Once you have spoken with a library staff member, please open your trunk or car door. Library staff will bring your materials out and place them in your car.
Returned library materials will be quarantined on return to the library. In order to manage the quarantine process effectively, patrons will be able to check out a total of 25 items. Patrons who have been with the library less than one year are still limited to a total of 6 items.
(NOTE: The library cannot guarantee that all items placed on hold will be available at the same time since returned materials have to be quarantined.)
Oak Ridge's book drop resumed Monday. No overdue charges are being applied until further notice, according to Gray.
The library does not yet have a date to reopen. Its roof is being replaced this summer so the library will reopen once construction has moved to a safe stage and it is sure staff and visitors can be kept healthy.
The Blount County Public Library currently has a similar service available by phone or the web if you've got a card there.
The onset of the pandemic forced many libraries to close starting in March.
Many libraries continue to offer online resources, and some have even expanded what you can do online through their websites.
Knox County's library system faces furloughs for 169 employees for up to two months starting this week. The county has 19 libraries, making it difficult to make curbside pickup available for patrons.