Closing Johnson County Library to the public was a difficult decision, but one we made with the welfare of our patrons, volunteers and staff top-of-mind. With an average of 38,000 people moving through our facilities each week, a large number of whom are in high-risk populations, the Library wants to do everything it can to help protect our community and curb this viral outbreak.
Below is a list of patrons’ Frequently Asked Questions about Library services and operations during our closure. This is a rapidly evolving situation, so we will continue to post updates on our website and social media channels regarding the operating status of Library facilities, resumption of affected Library services and the rescheduling of canceled events. We look forward to having you back in our buildings as soon as conditions allow.
Our eLibrary is available for remote access 24/7 by visiting jocolibrary.org/elibrary and logging in with your Library card or eCard. Resources include local and national eNewspapers, eBooks, eAudiobooks and eMagazines, as well as on-demand video platforms and educational services.
Our eLibrarian recommends the below services as a starting point for your "quarantine" toolkit:
- Entertainment: Kanopy, Acorn TV, eMagazines
- News local/regional/national: Shawnee Mission Post, Kansas City Star, New York Times
- Education/skill-building: Brainfuse HelpNow, LearningExpress Library, Rosetta Stone
- Business updates: Mergent Intellect, S&P Global NetAdvantage, Wall Street Journal
- Health & Wellness classes: Learn It Live, Universal Class
Visit ecard.jocolibrary.org to get started. To register, you need:
- to be a Johnson County resident
- to be 16 years old or have a parent or guardian available
- an email address
- immediate eLibrary access
- research resources online
No. Our book drops are closed, and the due dates for all checked-out Library materials (including Interlibrary loans) have been automatically extended through the duration of our branch closures. This means there is no need to renew materials at this time. We request that patrons keep their materials until the Library reopens.
No. Late fees will not accrue as of March 15, 2020 through the duration of the Library's closure. Please note that sometimes glitches in technology will occur; if fines do appear in your account for materials due while we are closed, they will be removed.
Late fees accrued prior to the March 15 closure will still be owed once the Library reopens.
Once the Library begins circulating materials, existing holds and inter-library loans (including those in transit as of March 15) will remain on the shelf for one additional week.
The safety of our patrons, volunteers and staff is our highest priority. In addition to the practice of social distancing, conflicting evidence from the World Health Organization of how long the COVID-19 virus lives on surfaces was a significant factor in our decision to close our buildings. Prior to our closure, we were circulating up to 20,000 items per day throughout the Johnson County Library system. Because the Library is unable to comprehensively sanitize each item that is checked out and returned to our branches, in addition to shortages of PPE that would provide minimum protections for staff and patron interaction, we are not checking out materials at this time.
We know demand for materials is high. As more information becomes available about the spread of the virus in our community, our Library administration and staff teams are actively investigating if there is a safe way to begin this service.
Outreach services like HomeConnect and Interlibrary loans are temporarily suspended during the Library closures. We'll let our patrons know when we re-start those services.
Staff are unable to process holds on items in our branches while we are closed, so to avoid a backlog, we are temporarily disabling holds on physical items. Until the Library reopens, we recommend saving items you're interested in holding to the "For Later" shelf in your Library account.
Because the Library is adhering to County guidelines which restrict all gatherings of 10 or more people, only a very limited staff critical to building operations, such as our facilities management team, are physically reporting to work at this time. We are utilizing technology such as virtual meetings to conduct Library business, and our librarians are responding to questions submitted through our website 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays.
The three Friends Bookstores are temporarily closed along with the Libraries. Online sales through AbeBooks, Amazon and eBay are also suspended at this time.
If you need to access our eLibrary but forgot your PIN, visit https://jocolibrary.bibliocommons.com/user/forgot. As a reminder, late fees will not accrue through the duration of the Library's closure.
Questions may also be submitted at www.jocolibrary.org/contact. Librarians are responding to questions 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays.
In addition to the additional daily cleaning measures our facilities team was taking prior to our closure, all patron and staff areas in each branch -- including public computers and carpets -- have been deep-cleaned while we are closed to the public.
There is no reliable way to comprehensively sanitize books and other materials, so we advise patrons to thoroughly wash their hands after touching Library materials.
All in-person Library events have been canceled through August 31. Many programs and events are being moved online when possible, but we will make every effort to reschedule in-person events at a later date. Please note that not all events are able to be rescheduled, as many depend on the availability of outside presenters. Please continue to check our social media sites and subscribe to our eNewsletter, The Open Book, for the latest event updates.
We will work in conjunction with Johnson County government and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment to determine the timing and process for resumption of Library services.
We will regularly update our website and social media accounts, as well as notify local media outlets.
We'll also communicate directly with our Library users through announcements sent to the email address on file with the Library. Please ensure that we have your correct address on file by logging into your account on jocolibrary.org, and selecting My Settings from the dropdown menu next to your username on the top right of the screen.
Please visit jocogov.org/coronavirus for daily updates about the virus's impact on Johnson County, as well as guidance and recommendations from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other trusted resources. You can also sign up for email updates via the page.
In addition, you can call the Johnson County Community COVID-19 Hotline at 913-715-CV19 (2819). Nurses and County staff are available 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday - Friday to answer your questions about the virus.
Please note you should isolate yourself and contact your physician, not the hotline, if you are experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19, including high fever, sore throat and a dry cough.