Reopening Updates

COVID-19 Updates, FAQ & At-Home Resources

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Reopening Updates

Updated October 19, 2020

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

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 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.

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

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.

For seeds, we now have featured seed packets every week that are free to pick up! Simply ask about our featured seeds when you pull up and call for curbside service.

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
    • South Chattanooga
    • Northgate
    • Eastgate
    • 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?

As of June 18, we are now open with curbside pickup! Beginning July 6, we will also be open for limited public computer access. 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 3 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 3 days. Research and testing have proven that the virus is undetectable on surfaces after one day and on paper inside books after 3 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?

Please visit our website at We will update it as we know more!

» 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 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.

At-Home Resources

COVID-19 Information
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.
  • Arts Kids TV online
    Fun art 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 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.
  • Quantile Summer Math Challenge
    Math lessons, games, and activities to help students retain their math skills throughout the summer
  • My Coalition College Help
    Help for staying on track for college during the pandemic
  • Hooda Math
    Math, science and online board games
  • Make Magazine’s Summer Maker Camp Online
    Family Maker Camp encourages making and hands-on learning at home
    Mommy Poppins Stay at Home Guide
    Videos, updates, activities and games for stay at home learning and fun
  • 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.
    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.

» Entertainment

» Travel

» Science

» Exercise

» Technology

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