SCHEDULED CURBSIDE PICKUP IS HERE! Place requests online or by calling us. We will schedule you for a pickup appointment. See our Curbside Service page under Features Resources to see how we will keep patrons and staff members safe!

FAQ: The Library & Curbside

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We made a two-part video series answering some of your most burning questions like, “is the library open?”, and “can I return things?”. You can watch them both here. Part I deals with the big stuff related to the library, while Part II goes into questions revolving around curbside and returns.


Part I Questions

Is the library open?
The library is now offering curbside pickup, but our building is still closed to the public. We’re here scheduling appointments and gathering materials Monday – Friday from 10 AM to 4 PM.

But the governor said libraries can open with Phase 2?
Yes, but in the bullet points of his plan what he actually meant was that libraries could allow you, the public, in ONLY to pick up things at the circulation desk. Everything would already be checked out to you. There would be no browsing, no printers, no computers, no asking staff to find you things– just a quick in and out stop. So for now, we’re sticking with curbside service. We’ve given this plan a lot of thought to make it as safe and efficient as possible.

When will you open?
Honestly? We don’t know. We’re following the guidance of the town and state on this. Check our Facebook and Instagram for updates, as well as our website. As soon as we know, you’ll know.

Is it safe for me to come pick stuff up?
Yes. We’re doing everything we can to make this as safe a process for you as possible. We’re following all CDC, state, and town guidelines. But we also need your help to keep curbside safe for everyone else. When you come to curbside, please:

  • Stay 6ft away from the person in front of you in line.
  • Stay 6ft away from the staff person who is outside.
  • Wear your mask 

What about fines?
Fines don’t exist! We’re waiving all fines while all of this is going on. If you happen to notice a fine slip through, let us know and we’ll waive it for you. Fines don’t even rank on our list of things we care about.

Also, please don’t put money in the book drop. With the number of items coming back our bins are overflowing and any money is likely to get lost. We’re also not able to handle money right now, and probably won’t be able to once we start letting you back in the building.

Can I come by and print something? Can you print something out for me?
Sorry, no. The UPS Store offers printing for minimal cost, and a public computer if you need one. If you have your own device and just need WiFi, we have free WiFi available 24/7, no password needed. If you’re in our back parking lot just look for any of these networks to connect: Brooks Central, Brooks West, Brooks NF, Brooks NF2, Meeting Room.


Part II Questions

How does curbside pick up work?
Curbside is a bit of a misnomer, you don’t pull up to the curb. Let’s go through the process step-by-step, starting from how you request things:

  1. Go to clamsnet.org
  2. Login with your Library Card Number and PIN
  3. Search for something you want. Limit your search to available at Harwich by using the filter on the left side of search results.
  4. When you find something you want, double check that status says Available at Brooks Free Library (Harwich)
  5. Click Request It.
  6. Change the pick up location to Harwich, if needed.
  7. Click Submit.
  8. Wait for us to call you! We’ll work with you to schedule your pick up during one of our curbside slots.
  9. Arrive during your 30 minute window
  10. Park
  11. Walk up to the table. If there’s a line, queue up 6 ft apart from the person in front of you. We have chalk marks on the ground to help.
  12. When you get to the table, find the bag with your name on it. Then you’re good to go!

Can I just stop by and pick up something that says is available? 
No, sorry. We’re working flat out right now and we cannot accommodate unscheduled pick ups. We’re asking that you follow the curbside procedure not only to ease the strain on us, but also for the safety of everyone involved. Scheduling pick ups let us space everyone out throughout the day, avoiding large groups and heavy foot/car traffic in our parking lot.

Why can’t I come pick my items up the same day?
Staff are trying to adapt to a new way of working. Like we said in the question before, we’re running at 100 miles per hour. We don’t have access to parts of our system that make our workflow shorter, which means that every interaction takes at least three times as long. Paging lists (the lists we print with your holds on them so we can pull the items) are being sent by our central office two times a day, whereas before we could print it whenever we wanted.

What if I want to add something to my pickup?
That’s 100% doable. Just go online to clamsnet.org and request an item. We check all requests against our list of scheduled pick ups. If we pull an item and see you already have a pick up scheduled we’ll pop it in your bag. We won’t call you to schedule another time, and there’s no need for you to call us to request an additional item (unless of course, you can’t access the online catalog).

Can you call me back if an earlier spot opens up? 
Sorry, this is a firm no. Just to give you an idea, we circulated over 200 items in our first week, and since then we’ve at least doubled, if not tripled, the amount of pick up times we have available. That’s hundreds of items passing through our hands being processed and scheduled every single day. We’ll try to accommodate you when we can, but we can’t get into the process of starting a list and calling people back if an earlier time slot open ups. As the Bard wrote, “that way madness lies”.

Why are all of you wearing masks? 
We’re wearing masks to keep you safe, to keep each other safe, and because it’s what the health department requires us to do. Please respect that we are wearing them for the foreseeable future.

Why can’t I get stuff from other libraries?/I’ve had something coming for a while but it never arrived?
Delivery is down right now between libraries, and we don’t know when it will be back up. That means we can’t offer items from other CLAMS libraries, ComCat, or ILL. Once delivery resumes there’s going to be a serious backlog at the sorting facilities that will take a while to get through. Your holds are still there, so don’t worry, your place in line hasn’t changed.

What if I don’t have specific things to put on hold? How do I get stuff?
This is an easy one! Just call us. We love doing this! Reader’s Advisor is part of our job, and we’ve all been doing extensive training on this over the past few months.

Can I return things?
Yes, the book drop is open for returns, no donations please! Oversize items can go in the wire laundry bin next to the drop. If you can, try to return your items to their owning library (i.e. Brooks items to Brooks, Chatham items to Chatham, etc.). This helps us decrease our backlog, take the strain off delivery when it resumes, and will get books back into the hands of other people faster.

Can I return DVDs and CDs in the drop? 
Yes! If you’ve got a rubber band to put around them that would be helpful too.

I returned things but they’re still checked out to me?
This is because we quarantine everything for 3 days when it’s returned. That means we don’t touch items or even look at them until those 72 hours have passed. Stuff won’t come off your account until we scan it in, so that’s why it lingers. We also cannot provide return receipts at this time.


Okay, that’s it! We’ll update the FAQ series as needed, so keep an eye on our Instagram. We’ve got tons of great stuff being posted all the time on our social media accounts. Send us a DM on Facebook or IG if you have a question.