Reopening Updates

COVID-19 Updates, FAQ & At-Home Resources

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Reopening Updates

Updated November 6, 2020

Suspended Public Access

Starting November 9

Public access to library branches is suspended starting November 9. Due to the high number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in our area, the City of Chattanooga and the Library are doing their part to slow the spread by limiting public access to buildings.

Services temporarily unavailable: Public computers and appointments for the U.S. Passports Acceptance Office and Local History and Genealogy.

Services still available: Notary services, faxing, copying, and Curbside Pickup of books, tools, and media. For any of these services, go to the Curbside Pickup area at our Downtown/Main, Northgate, Eastgate, and South Chattanooga locations, and call the number on the sign. Please note: Notary services are not available at Eastgate. For more information, see below.

Notary, Printing, Copying, and Faxing

Starting October 19

Notary services are now available at our Main/Downtown branch. Call the U.S. Passport Acceptance Office at 423-643-7724 to schedule a time.

Printing, copying and faxing are also available at the Main/Downtown, Northgate, Eastgate and South Chattanooga branch locations.

Local History and Genealogy by Appointment

Starting October 12

You can now schedule appointments for the Local History and Genealogy Department located in our Downtown Branch! This service is available to anyone with research requests, but we do ask that only one researcher come to the appointment and observe all COVID-19 guidelines. Masks are required, and no browsing or groups allowed.

Appointments can be made on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. To make an appointment, call 423-643-7725 or email localhistory@lib.chattanooga.gov.

Passports by Appointment

Starting October 5

You can now schedule appointments for our U.S. Passports Acceptance Office located in our Downtown Branch! Our Passports Office is now accepting appointments for new passports and renewals. We ask that only those who need to be there come to their appointment.

Call 423-643-7724 to make an appointment or click here to learn more on our Services page.

Public Computer Access

Starting September 28

We are reopening our doors for public computer access! A limited number of computer stations are now available for 45-minute computer sessions. These stations are set up for social distancing and with special equipment that will be disinfected after each use. The number of computers available at each location are:

Main/Downtown: 6 computers

Eastgate: 4 computers

Northgate: 3 computers

South Chattanooga: 2 computers

We require people to wear a mask and follow all posted health-related guidelines. Browsing for items and other library services are still on hold, so we encourage everyone to use our Curbside Pickup service to checkout materials.

Curbside Pickup

Starting June 29
You can now pick up items from the Tool Library!

For tools, check out our Tool Library Inventory and either call 423-643-7740 or drive up to our Downtown curbside pickup area and call the number on the sign. You can check out up to 3 tools at a time! Although you cannot reserve tools, you can call to find out what is currently available. If it is your first time checking out tools, you will need to first fill out our Liability Waiver and Tool Use Policy. To save time, print and fill these out before you head down. If you don’t have the ability to print, we’ll have forms for you.

Our Seed Exchange is now closed for the season, but it will resume in January.

Starting June 18
You can now request new items to be placed on hold for pickup! Visit our catalog to find the item(s) you want, and reserve them by clicking the “Hold Request” button. Pickup is available at the branches listed below from 9 am – 5:45 pm.

How to Pick Up Holds

  • When you get notified that your items are ready for pickup, grab your library card, and head on over to your branch!
  • Follow the signs out front to the designated curbside pickup area.
  • Park and call the number listed below for your location. Please be prepared to provide a description of your vehicle and any special needs you may have. If you do not have a cell phone, please call your pickup location before you leave home, and our staff will schedule a time for you.
    • Main/Downtown
      423-643-7736
    • South Chattanooga
      423-643-7780
    • Northgate
      423-643-7788
    • Eastgate
      423-643-7773
    • Avondale
      This branch will remain closed until the Avondale YFD center reopens. Please direct your calls and book returns to one of our other branches.
  • When staff approach your vehicle, please press your library card or photo ID against your window so we can verify your identity, and then pop your trunk. Staff will place your holds in your trunk and close it for you. If you don’t have a trunk, we can place it in your backseat.
  • Please do not hand items to library staff to be returned. Any items you wish to return must be placed in the library book drop so that they can be quarantined before being placed back in circulation.
  • If you are walking or biking to pick up your holds, we will have them ready on an outdoor table for pickup. If other patrons are waiting, we ask that you wait in line, at least six feet apart from others. Our staff will check your library card or ID and leave your holds on the table for you to collect them.

We appreciate everyone’s patience during this unique time and are thrilled to take the first step in opening up with curbside pickup. For future openings – including notary services, passports and browsing our stacks – we ask that you stay tuned for updates!

Don’t forget that we have a wide variety of online resources, including audiobooks, ebooks, music, movies, live tutoring, homework help and online classes. Also, visit our events page for online programs and Make. Play. Read. Learn!

For city-related updates and to sign-up for text message updates regarding COVID-19, please visit the City’s Connect page.

Frequently Asked Questions

» When will the library reopen?

We are now open for Curbside Pickup, public computer access, limited public services, passport appointments and local history research appointments. Other library services are still on hold, but please check back for updates. We are following the directives from Mayor Berke’s office, which is closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation.

» I received a hold notification. How do I pick it up?

By using our new curbside pickup service! Please see instructions above.

» How do I place a hold online? 

If you haven’t used our online catalog before, watch this short tutorial that will show you how to search for and place holds on items. Click here to watch.

» What should I do with the books I currently have?

Return them! All book drops are open, so when you’re finished with your items, please return them to our book drops so that items can be quarantined before being placed back into circulation.

» I returned my items but they haven’t been cleared from my account. Why is there a delay?

All items returned in the Library’s book drops are quarantined for 4 days to ensure they are safe for staff to handle. Once the quarantine period passes, we check in the items and adjust the date to reflect when your items were placed in the book drop. No fines will accrue while items are quarantined.

» My library card is about to expire so I won’t be able to checkout e-materials. What should I do?

Please click on the “Renew your Card” link  in the top right corner on our webpage.

» Do I need to sanitize my items before returning them to the book drops? 

No need! When we receive your items, they will be set aside and left untouched for 4 days. Research and testing have proven that the virus is undetectable on surfaces after one day and on paper inside books after 4 days. Please do not use disinfectant on your items or other methods. Microwaving items will destroy them.

» Will I owe overdue fines?

Fines were suspended through June 30, 2020. After June 30, please return your checked out items by their due date via our library book drops. Tools need to be dropped off at curbside pickup tables.

» How can I get information about the library operations?

Right here! Check our reopening updates often for the most current information.

» I have fines on my account, so I cannot use my card.

Fines can be paid online. Please click on the “Pay Fines” link in the top right corner on our webpage.

» I don’t have a card at all. How can I get a new library card?

Please click on the “Get a Library Card” link in the top right corner on our webpage. After completing the online application, email copies of your identification (driver’s license, state identification etc.) to patronaccount@lib.chattanooga.gov. If the address on the identification is incorrect, please include in your email something 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.

Additional Resources

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