Three icons - a front desk with person, car, and computer - denote what we are offering during our lobby and lab access phase

Lobby and Lab Access: Frequently Asked Questions

How can I request items during this stage?

The most efficient ways to request items at this time:

But can I request items while I’m inside the lobby?

Our stacks are not open for browsing during this stage, but we want to get our library materials into your hands! Patrons are welcome to request items while in the lobby and either:

  • Wait in our waiting area while the items are being retreived from the stacks.
  • Receive notification from the Library when the requested items are ready for pickup.

What are the Library's Hours of Operation?

Monday - Thursday: 10:00 AM - 7:00 PM

Friday: 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Saturday: 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM

What Library access do I have during this stage?

Our lobby and computer lab will be open to the public, and the patron capacity is limited to 12 people:

4 people in the computer lab

3 people in the waiting area

5 people in line for the main desk

Which services will be available?

  • Quick checkout of holds and return of library materials
  • Public computer use (30 minute time limit)
  • Printing, scanning, copying, and faxing services
  • Notary services (by appointment)
  • Summer Reading Program prize and Teen Summer Reading Craft pickup
  • Virtual programming
  • Optional curbside pickup by appointment (Call the Library at 217-483-2713 to schedule)
    • Curbside pickup times: Monday-Friday: 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM, Saturday 10:00 AM - 2:00PM

Will checkouts still be two weeks?

Checkout periods will be two weeks for Chatham Area Public Library items. Materials from other libraries are subject to the checkout limits determined by the loaning library.

    How will I know when my items are ready for pickup? How can I schedule a curbside pickup time?

    Beginning in early July, the classic library item notifications (email, phone, or text) will resume which will alert patrons when their requested items are ready and available for pickup. Items can be picked up in our lobby during business hours or a curbside pickup time can be scheduled.

    In order to receive library items through curbside pickup, patrons must call the Library at 217-483-2713. 24 hours advanced notice for curbside orders is required.

    Can I use the Meeting or Study Rooms?

    Our Meeting and Study Rooms are not available for use at this time.

    How can I pay for my fines/lost/damaged items/faxes/copies?

    We will have payment jars for cash payments in the computer lab and at the main desk. We will also be accepting checks and credit cards (for purchases over $5). 

    What safety measures are you taking during this stage?

    The safety of our patrons and staff is the highest priority, and we are taking the following measures to try and ensure all parties are kept safe and healthy:

    • Hand sanitizer and disposable masks will be provided at entry.
    • Patrons will be required to wear masks while in the building.
    • Front circulation staff will wear masks and maintain thorough hand washing levels. Between each patron interaction, staff will use hand sanitizer and disinfect surfaces.
    • Public computers and equipment will be sanitized after each use.
    • Partitions, plexiglass, and floor markers will be used to help ensure protection and proper social distancing.
    • Restrooms and other high touch surfaces will be disinfected every two hours.
    • Optional curbside pickup will remain available. 

    How do I get the Summer Reading Prizes that I've earned?

    You will be able to pick up your Summer Reading Program prizes in the lobby during our business hours. You can also call call the Library at 217-483-2713 to schedule a pickup. If you choose the curbside pickup option, it must be scheduled at least 24 hours in advance. 

    When will we be able to request items from other libraries?

    Patrons can begin requesting items from other libraries beginning on July 1 and delivery of items between libraries will begin on July 6. Libraries are individually structured and the loaning of items is at the discretion of each library. 

    What can I check out?

    Beginning in early July, items will begin being shipped and shared between libraries at the discretion of each individual library. We will circulate our books, audiobooks, music CDs, DVDs, and Blu-Rays, fishing poles, and WIFI Hot Spots during this time; what other libraries choose to lend at this time is at their discretion. 

    Other Library of Things items are not available for checkout during this stage.

    When will the outdoor book drop be open?

    Our Outdoor Book Drop is Currently Open 24/7:

    • Please ONLY place library items into the outdoor book drop as we are not currently accepting donations at this time.
    • DVDs can be returned through the outdoor book drop. Please rubber band or wrap the DVDs in a bag, if possible, for increased protection of the items. 
    • Please return specialty items (WIFI Hot Spots, puzzles, etc.) on a designated cart at the Library during business hours.
    • Returned items will be quarantined for three days before being checked in. Library staff will contact patrons with any questions at that time. Due dates will be extended to accomodate for this, and any fines accrued during this quarantine process will be waived. 
    • Our outdoor book drop handles will be disinfected every two hours during Library business hours.
    • Our indoor book drop will be UNAVAILABLE during this time. Please return all items in our outdoor book drop.

    What are you doing with items once they're returned?

    We have developed a process for safely accepting library items through our outdoor book drop which involves a quarantine period. Information acquired from the REALM project has been and will be used to determine the quarantining process. Please note that, because of this process, your item(s) will remain on your account for several days after they've been returned. Fines accrued on your items during this quarantine period will be waived, and Library staff will contact patrons with any questions at the time of item check in. 

    Are you accepting donations at this time?

    No. Due to health and safety concerns related to the processing of donations, we are not accepting donations at this time.  

    I'm having a difficult time finding books for myself and my kids. Can you help? 

    With over 79,000 physical items and over 100,000 digital offerings in our collection, it can be challenging to know where to begin. Our librarians are happy to help you narrow down which items may interest you. You’re welcome to call us to discuss your material interests or fill out our Online Order Form, and we will select items for you based on your interests. 

    When will the Library reopen for browsing?

    We do not yet have a date set. While we are excited to offer Lobby and Lab Access during this stage, we are continuously working on preparing for the next stages of our reopening plan. Many safety concerns need to be addressed before we are able to increase access to our book stacks and building. Our Board of Trustees will be directed by the guidance given by federal, state and local officials to determine the capacity at which we can open the building. As with all things during this time, these decisions are fluid and can change depending on new information. 

    What guidance are you using to help make your decisions?

    Our Library Board of Trustees and our administration takes the safety and well-being of our patrons and staff very seriously.  They have approved this stage of our reopening plan with directives and guidance provided by the CDC, Governor Pritzker’s Office, and the American and Illinois Library Associations.