Coronavirus (COVID19) Updates, FAQ and Resources

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Latest Updates

Updated as of March 19

Patrons should not be concerned about their accounts during this time. To reduce stress on patrons, the Library has made the following changes:

  • All fines are suspended until April 30, and further extensions will be made as needed. 
  • All due dates are extended until May 31, and further extensions will be made as needed. 
  • The fine limit that prevents cardholders from checking out materials is now $25.
  • All card expiration dates are extended until June 30, and further extensions will be made as needed. 
  • Holds on physical materials are currently suspended.
  • WiFi remains on during regular hours for anyone nearby to use.

As of Saturday, March 14, all branches of the Chattanooga Public Library have suspended public access, programming and outreach until further notice.  

On Friday, March 13, Mayor Andy Berke signed an Executive Order establishing a Communicable Disease Policy. To prevent the potential spread of Coronavirus/COVID-19, the City has suspended activities at all Library locations, Youth and Family Development Centers and the Eastgate Senior Center, as well as suspended all city-sponsored senior activities and city-permitted public gatherings.  

While we will not be open to the public, we will still be answering your phone calls and emails, accepting book returns and offering a wide variety of online resources, including audiobooks, ebooks, music, movies, homework help and online classes.  

Our U.S. Passport Acceptance office will still be available by appointment only. Call (423) 643-7724 to set up a time.  

Avondale Library patrons – please direct your calls and book returns to one of our other branches.  

Please check back for updates on when we will reopen, and visit the City’s Connect page to get all city-related news and to sign-up for text message updates regarding Coronavirus/COVID-19. 

» About COVID-19 
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus that was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China. 

» How COVID-19 Spreads 
The virus that causes COVID-19 probably emerged from an animal source, but now it seems to be spreading from person to person. At this time, it’s unclear how easily or sustainably the virus that causes COVID-19 is spreading between people. 

 » Symptoms of COVID-19 
Patients with COVID-19 have had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of:

  • fever
  • cough
  • shortness of breath
  • severe complications may include pneumonia in both lungs

» Protect Yourself 
There are simple everyday preventative actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses. These include:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • If you are sick, please stay home to keep from spreading respiratory illness to others.

Frequently Asked Questions

» When will the library reopen?
We do not know. We will follow the directives from Mayor Berke but at this time, no date has been set. You can of course still access all of our electronic materials and online courses available on our Resources Page.

» I received a hold notification. How do I pick it up?
For the safety of our staff and our patrons, we are unable to deliver holds at this time. The good news is that holds will be held indefinitely so that when we do reopen, they will be waiting for you!

» I just tried to place a hold and the request button has disappeared.
To avoid our locations being overwhelmed with hold items that cannot be picked up, we are temporarily suspending placing holds as of 3/13/20. If you have placed a hold in the past, it will be honored and the item will be waiting for you when we reopen.  We encourage patrons to keep a paper list of items they are interested in, so that when the holds system becomes available again, you will know what you want to request.

» My library card is about to expire, so I won’t be able to checkout e-materials. What should I do?
We are extending library card expirations to the end June 30, 2020. Should the situation remain unchanged, we will extend cards beyond that as is necessary.  You can also make use of our online card renewal.

» Will I owe overdue fines?
No fines will be assessed beginning 3/13/20 until normal library operations resume. Please do not return items to our outdoor book drops. Staff will no longer be going into our buildings.  We will be extending due dates automatically on all items checked out and no fines will accrue. Just enjoy the items and when normal operations resume, you can bring the items back then.

» How can I get information about the library operations?
Please check back on our website. We will update this page as we know more!

» I have fines on my account, so I cannot use my card.
Fines can be paid online. Click on the PayFines link in the top right corner of our website. Keep in mind that temporarily we will not be charging overdue fines beginning March 13, 2020.

» I don’t have a card at all. How can I get a new library card?
Temporarily, we will process new library cards online. Patrons should begin by clicking Get a Library Card in the top right corner of our website.  After completing the online application, patrons will need to email copies of their identification (driver’s license, state identification etc.) to patronaccount@lib.chattanooga.gov.  If the address on the identification is incorrect, please attach something to your email showing your name with the correct address such as a utility bill, a lease agreement, or a tax bill. If you are a non-resident, the $50.00 non-resident fee can be paid online once your account is set up.  Once we have received all the necessary information, we will email your card number to you so that you can begin accessing our electronic materials.  Once the library resumes normal operations, you will be able to come in and pick up your actual physical card.

» Can I still submit Patron Requests to suggest items for the collection?
We are temporarily suspending patron requests for print materials as we will not be able to deliver them to you. Once normal library operations resume, we will of course, start processing print material patron requests. We will continue to purchase electronic materials from our Overdrive/Libby vendor.

» My child got a library card through the Hamilton County Department of Education/Chattanooga Public Library program. Where can I get information about those cards and accounts?
All questions about Hamilton County Department of Education cards should be directed to HCDEcards@chattanooga.gov

External Resources

COVID-19 Information
Local Food Distribution
Homelessness Assistance
Financial and Household Assistance
Open Restaurants and Stores
Free Resources for Homebound Kids and Adults

» Literacy

» Education

  • Brain Pop Explains the Coronavirus
    Cartoon video and activities explaining the coronavirus to older elementary age and up.
  • Chattanooga Basics
    Information on five fun and powerful ways to help your preschool child have a great start in life.
  • Fun Brain, Jr
    Online reading and math games and activities for preschoolers
  • Open Culture Drawing Lessons for Kids
    Your favorite children’s book illustrators are offering free drawing lessons for kids.
  • Art Helps
    Local artist and art teacher, Gina Graham, invites you to join Art Club with at home art challenges and free art lessons for kids.
  • Hamilton County Schools Continued Help Hotline
    (423) 498-5437
    Available Monday through Friday from 8 am to 5 pm with information on student meals, technology resources, device checkout and other ways parents can help their students.
  • YFD Free Tutoring Google Hangouts
    Youth and Family Development offers tutors and academic supervisors available Monday through Friday from 10 am to 6 pm at the beginning of each hour. Contact education@chattanooga.gov for any questions or concerns.
  • Homework Hotline
    Free one-on-one tutoring for K-12 students in Tennessee.
  • Scholastic Learn At Home
    Offers four separate learning experiences every day, each built around a thrilling, meaningful story or video. For pre-K – 9th grade
  • Accessibyte
    Fun, funky, fully accessible apps for users who are blind, visually impaired, deaf, dyslexic or have other reading difficulties. Free while schools are closed due to health concerns.
  • Smithsonian Learning Lab
    Distance learning activities and lesson plans for pre-K-12 teachers and students, offered by The Smithsonian Museum.
  • American Association of Chemistry Teachers
    Chemistry demonstrations, lessons and more for K-12 students. Normally requires membership, but offering free lessons during this time.
  • Children’s Museum of Houston
    Virtual exhibits to keep the playground of the mind active as well as online learning ideas and virtual events for children.
  • The Space Foundation Discovery Center
    Helping build the next generation of space leaders by offering STEM lesson plans for children of all ages.
  • Mystery Science
    Encouraging homebound families by offering their most popular science lessons for free.
  • Ancestry.com
    Free access to millions of historical records and images, lesson plans and video courses for kids, tweens and teens while schools are closed.
  • PBS Teaching Tennessee
    Virtual classroom lessons by TN teachers on PBS on M-F from 11 am to 1 pm on PBS. The site also offers downloadable lesson plans and activities. Grades 1-8
  • Time for Kids
    Time for Kids, Digital Edition is free for the rest of the year and provides help with navigating the news with kids as well as worksheets and other resources.

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