August 03, 2020
Free Library of Philadelphia locations are remaining closed to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but several neighborhood branches are now offering limited in-person services, including book returns, library material pickups, and phone reference.
Library members can place new holds on materials either online or over the phone. Once requested materials are ready, the member will be required to schedule a pickup appointment before coming to their neighborhood branch. And the phone reference allows members to speak with neighborhood library staff to get recommendations for books and movies, as well as answer questions and received suggestions for resources on a variety of topics.
The Free Library's call center also is live now for library members to call five days a week to speak with staff about library info, technology help and any other updates with regards to services resuming and locations reopening.
A full list of neighborhood libraries offering limited services now to patrons can be accessed here. This list can be filtered by services available using the buttons at the top of the left column.
Additionally, the due dates for physical materials checked out before the Free Library closed have been extended through the end of August.
Free Library branches have been shut down since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but many events and programs have continued on virtually.
Last month, Siobahan Reardon, the city public library system's president and director for 12 years, stepped down amid accusations of workplace discrimination and racial inequality.
Black library workers detailed their concerns in an open letter posted online in late June. They called out workplace racism, income and job disparities, and a lack of COVID-19 protections for Black workers, who are more likely to become sick or die from the virus.
Additionally, the local chapter of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the largest trade union of public employees in the United States, launched a "vote of no confidence" petition criticizing Reardon and the board of trustees. The petition claimed "insufficient action of this administration concerning racism," citing the open letter from Black workers. Nearly 2,000 union members and other supporters have signed the petition.