Contactless Pickup Begins Today!

A library staff member, wearing a face covering, places blue bags on a table with alphabetic signs, A-F and G-L.

Welcome back to the Library! We are so happy to be able to lend physical items to you again. Our electronic resources have been invaluable during our collective quarantine and our statistics show it, but we know you are interested in our tangible items, too.

You can now return the materials you have had since March (if not earlier) and borrow new books, movies, Playaways, tools, art, and more. All six branches of HCLS are open for contactless pickup, Mon-Sat*, 10 am – 6 pm.

More than 300,000 items were borrowed before HCLS closed, and customers have placed requests for more than 52,000 items during the closure. All items retrieved from book drops – and returned during contactless pickup – will be quarantined for 72 hours. HCLS staff returned to branches more than a week ago, preparing to begin this new service.

HCLS President & CEO Tonya Aikens comments, “The health, safety, and well-being of our staff and customers remains top priority. Guidance from health officials and the CDC continues to inform our plans. Decisions about how we progress to future phases will depend on the most current health and safety guidelines.”

County Executive Calvin Ball said, “The HCLS team has been instrumental in connecting residents with online resources throughout this pandemic, and we’re thrilled they have found a safe way to provide more access to our residents with contactless pickup.”

So, how does it work? The basics are below, but all the details and FAQs are available here.

1. Place items on hold.

Search the Library’s catalog for titles of interest. To request items from the art collection, please call Central Branch at 410.313.7800, or the DIY collection, please call Elkridge Branch at 410.313.5077.

Use your HCLS-registered library card or A+ student account (for HCPSS students) and PIN to log in and place requests, selecting your preferred pickup location.

You may also make requests by phone by calling your HCLS branch during business hours (10 am – 6 pm, Monday – Saturday).

2. Wait for notification, then reserve a pickup day and time.

You will receive a notice when your holds are available.

Then, fill out the Contactless Holds Pickup Request form online or call your pickup branch to make an appointment.

3. At the scheduled date and time, pick up your holds at the designated HCLS location.

Prior to your appointment, HCLS staff will locate your items, check them out to your account, and bag them. The bag will be labeled with your name and placed on a table in the lobby of the pickup branch.

When you arrive, maintain at least 6 feet of social distance from others. Face coverings are required.

If you notice another customer in the lobby, please remain outside until the previous customer has departed.

Grab your bag and go – items have already been checked out to you. Your receipt will be in the bag.

We have missed you and are so pleased to be offer this service. We can’t wait to see you in person again soon!

*HCLS is closed on July 4, as well as five Fridays for furlough: July 3, 17, 31, and August 14 & 28.

New Online Calendar!

Events calendar for June 2020, with classes listed in a grid. On the left side, a green filters menu to help with searching is visible.

HCLS is pleased to launch a new online calendar that provides an easy-to-use, snapshot view of all of our upcoming classes and events. The calendar can be accessed here, or by going to hclibrary.org and clicking on “Classes & Events.”

This user-friendly and easy-to-navigate tool allows customers to search and register for classes and events quickly and easily. Hovering above a title brings up a preview sidebar, and clicking on that title will take you to the full details and registration page. It is important to register with an email address so that you receive the automatic confirmation email and the link to join the online class.

You can search for classes in many ways through the Filters menu. The calendar has a basic keyword search. For example, typing in ‘STEAM’ will display all of the upcoming STEAM classes. You can also search by subject by using the “Program Type” list on the left-hand sidebar.

The feature I find most useful is that all the classes are color coded by age group! I just select Ages 14-17 (High School) to look for classes for my teenager, and interesting classes like Science Lab, Digital Design Lab and Food Truck Entrepreneur pop up! Click “reset” to search again with a different filter.

Play around and explore this new online calendar, and discover classes and events for everyone! If you love literature, I suggest searching for Staff Picks & Book Chat (scheduled for this Friday, June 26th, at 11am) and register – you will love how speedy and simple this process is!

If you have any questions, we can be reached at Ask HCLS.

Rohini is the Adult Curriculum Specialist with HCLS. She loves literature and rainy days.

Libraries Stand Against Racism

Black box with white text that reads, Libraries Stand Against Racism atop red text that reads, Anywhere. Anytime.

My heart aches at the cruel and inhumane acts routinely inflicted upon my Black brothers and sisters and all people of color. Tears stream from my eyes because statements like this continue to be issued in the aftermath of senseless killings like those of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor. I wail as committees are formed to check the box so we can bird watch in public parks and not endure what Christian Cooper endured. My gut wrenches because conversations must held to see that our children have the protections denied Aiyana Jones at seven years of age. My soul is in a state of unrest to see people of all races and ethnicities in harm’s way and being harmed as they peacefully protest in support of respect, equal justice and equal treatment for all. The statements, committees and conversations should and must continue, but we must also move past them, standing against racism and hatred each time it is in our midst, and strategizing and enacting change until America’s promises ring true for all citizens.  

Learning of one another, our shared history, and the peaceful steps we can all take is essential to reaching this goal. In line with its mission of high-quality education for all, Howard County Library System (HCLS) dove into the topics of systemic racism with the Undesign the Redline exhibit and Color of Law author Richard Rothstein event (in person and on our HiJinx podcast), and racial justice with Waking Up White author Debby Irving and educator Lisa Gray. HCLS condemns racism, hatred and violence. Today, HCLS invites you to join us in committing to and engaging in an educational pursuit for justice. 

Public libraries across the country have the responsibility to advance social equity. HCLS stands united with the Urban Libraries Council and the American Library Association in condemning racist incidents and behavior that targets individuals and communities. 

HCLS is one of more than 160 North American public library systems that have shown their strong commitment to ending structural racism by signing ULC’s Statement on Race and Social Equity, which asserts that “libraries can help achieve true and sustained equity through an intentional, systemic and transformative library-community partnership.”  

The American Library Association unequivocally condemns racism and endorses recent statements by the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association and the Black Caucus of the American Library Association

Desmond Tutu, Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town and Nobel Peace Laureate once said, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.” 

I implore you not to be neutral. The cost for neutrality is simply too high. It’s incalculable. I invite you to take the deep pain felt in our community and use it to fuel positive change. Peacefully learn, grow, share, support and act. Our talented team will continue to add to the list of materials below and on our website curated for all ages in various formats. Read. Watch. Listen. Share. Act.  

Sincerely, 

Tonya Aikens 
President and CEO 
Howard County Library System 

Read 

Anti-racist books 

Anti-racist reading list from Ibram X. Kendi  

Social Justice Books – Young Adult Fiction 

20 Social Justice Books for Young Adults and Middle Grades 

31 Children’s books to support conversations on race, racism and resistance 

Watch 

https://www.kanopy.com/category/29286

Learn 

What White People Can Do for Racial Justice 

HOUSING 

Listen 

Howard County Library System’s HiJinx podcast, Episode 19: Seeing Red, focused on the Undesign the Redline exhibit. This episode featured Richard Rothstein, author of The Color of Law, a forgotten history of how our government segregated America, and Braden Crooks, co-founder and partner of Designing the We which created Undesign the Redline. Tune in here via SoundCloud or listen on iTunes

How Racist Property Laws Formed The Neighborhoods We Live In Today on The Kojo Nnamdi Show. Listen

Watch 

Designing the WE co-founder April De Simone gives a tour of Undesign the Redline in Washington, DC. Watch

Welcome

Welcome to Howard County Library System! While the doors to our branches may be closed, HCLS remains open at hclibrary.org where you can stream, download, and learn. 

HCLS offers numerous online tools and resources for all ages and interests. Sharpen your professional skills, learn a new language, stream music and movies, research family history, tackle “Do It Yourself” projects at home, and so much more. 

If you have questions or need assistance, our staff is available at 410.313.5088 or askhcls@hclibrary.org. 

We at HCLS sincerely wish you well during these difficult times. We can’t wait to see you at the Library!