We Now Offer Limited In-Person Library Appointments

The library now offers limited In-Person Library Appointments. We’ll schedule these appointments into three basic categories: browsing books and materials, adult-only computer/internet use, and access for at-risk populations.

Here’s how it works:

Browsing Books and Other Materials

Call 715-839-5066 to schedule a one-hour browsing appointment between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Details:

• A maximum of ten customers will be allowed to browse each hour.
• Browsing will be available on the first and second floors.
• All public service desks will be staffed to assist customers.
• Safety precautions such as sneeze guards will be installed at all public service points.
• You will use designated self-check stations to check out their materials.

There is no minimum age requirement for making appointments. However, each member of a family/unit will be counted towards the ten person per hour limit. Children under age eight must be accompanied by a guardian at all times.

If you simply need to pick up on-hold materials, use the library’s popular drive thru-style pickup service. Details: www.ecpubliclibrary.info/pickup-service

Adult-Only Computer & Internet Use

Call 715-839-5004 to schedule a 75-minute computer appointment between 10:15 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Details:

• A maximum of five customers will be allowed per session.
• Computer stations have been relocated to accommodate social distancing.
• Staff will clean and reset computer stations between appointments.
• You will have access to a shared print station and change machine.
• Business Center equipment will not be available.
• Reference staff will be available to assist you from a safe distance.

Access for At-Risk Populations

Older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions may be at higher risk of severe illness related to COVID-19. The library will reserve appointments every Wednesday from 10 a.m. to noon for these customers.

Customers may call 715-839-5066 to schedule these appointments.

Requirements & Safety Information

Masks & More

During all In-Person Library Appointments, you are required to wear a face mask or similar covering (disposable masks and face shields will be available if you need one). You are also required to practice social distancing, maintaining a distance of six feet between other customers and staff. While in the library, you are encouraged to use hand sanitizer.

The service is intended only for people who show no signs of illness and have not been exposed to people experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.

Library Staff & Facilities

We will follow strict safety procedures while assisting you. This includes wearing face masks and gloves, using hand sanitizer, and maintaining social distance.

We have made a number of changes and customizations to the library to keep everyone safe, including special signage and floor markings to designate proper social distance. Restrictions have been placed on bathrooms, water fountains, and furniture.

Parking

You may not park in the library’s lower level parking lot, as that area is used for materials pickup.

In-Person Library Appointments are expected to be extremely popular. We greatly appreciate your support and patience as we fine-tune our procedures!

We have designed our In-Person Library Appointment procedure according to guidelines produced by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, which oversees public libraries. Safety restrictions for library facilities will be loosened or tightened as managers monitor weekly updates from the Eau Claire City-County Health Department.

Dropping Off Materials

Library book drops around the city of Eau Claire are open on an alternating schedule. Please follow the special instructions posted on each box. Use only open boxes for drop off. Closed book drops will remain in quarantine for at least 72 hours before we can retrieve the materials inside.

It’s been taking us about a week (sometimes longer) for items returned to be checked back in, so you may receive an automatic phone call or email about overdue items you’ve already returned. We’re working to update that message, but if you are contacted about overdue items you’ve already returned, please disregard.

Please plan ahead when returning items as some book drops may be full. If you can return items a few days early, please do so. If you have scheduled an In-Person Appointment, you may return items when you come in.

From the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, Division for Libraries & Technology:

On June 22, 2020, scientists at Battelle Labs released the preliminary results of their first phase of tests as part of the REALM Project. Their research revealed that the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 is not detectable on five common library materials after three days. While tests found the virus was undetectable after one day on the covers of hardback and softback books as well as DVD cases, the virus was only undetectable on the pages of books and on Mylar book jackets after three days. This new information lends even more credence to the decision to quarantine library materials for 3 days.

Materials handling is very different in a library setting compared to a laboratory setting. In a lab test, materials are handled and tested as unique and individual items, whereas in a library, materials are commingled in a book drop, bag, bin, or other receptacle. Therefore, each item should be handled as if it has the longest quarantine requirement of any other item in the commingled receptacle. Since unquarantined materials should be handled minimally, we maintain our recommendation of one quarantine period for all materials, with a duration set at the longest time required to find the virus undetectable among any material types that may be commingled when returned. At this time, that continues to be a 3-day quarantine.

While some libraries may be tempted to shorten quarantine times based on results that suggest a reduced quarantine would be adequate for some materials, we strongly urge libraries to communicate with their public library systems to make sure they are consistent with the quarantine process established within the system, which is based on regional COVID data. We consider this to be an essential step in securing the safety of library and system staff, particularly as materials move through the delivery chain.

Library Pickup Service

If you simply need to pick up on-hold materials, please use the library’s popular drive thru-style pickup service. (To meet demand, we recently expanded the service to quadruple its capacity.)

Once your on-hold items are ready for pick-up, you’ll receive a notification with instructions to call 715-839-5066 and schedule a pickup time. Appointments are made Monday through Saturday. Staff will communicate with you directly to provide instructions.

Questions?

You can get help from your library’s Reference Desk over the phone, via email, or online chat: 

Online chat (Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.): Click here

General questions: 715-839-5004 • reference@eauclaire.lib.wi.us

Youth Services: 715-839-5007 • ysstaff@eauclaire.lib.wi.us

Account-related questions: 715-839-5003 • circstaff@eauclaire.lib.wi.us

Critical Resources (food, shelter, mental health, etc.): Click here

Other Special Library Services

While closed to the public, the library has developed and enhanced many of its programs to better serve you. These services (and more) will continue for the foreseeable future:

Reference assistance via email, phone, and online chat (more) | Learn more

 Special Resources Pickup for Families (food, craft supplies, etc.) | Learn more

 Enhanced access to digital materials like e-books and audiobooks | Learn more

New Community Information Database | Learn more

 One-on-one appointments with the library’s Community Resources Specialist (a licensed social worker) | Learn more

24/7 connectivity to high speed internet available from our outdoor seating area near the front entrance

Virtual programming and special video series

Increased ordering and processing of physical materials