As of last Friday, which concluded its third week, curbside service had filled more than 6,800 requests to a thousand cars, bicyclists and people walking up, said Nick Binzoni, community relations coordinator for the Library and Recreation Department.
"The level of interest was astonishing from the start. The first day alone, we received 3,800 book requests," Binzoni said. "Our library is really excited to be able to offer this program."
Patrons go to the library catalog on the website and make requests on the books they wish to check out, with a limit of 10. Then a staff member pulls the books from the shelves and notifies the patron the order is ready. The patron selects a time for pickup from the available half-hour time slots.
Pickup times are scheduled 1-6 p.m. Tuesdays to Thursdays. When patrons arrive, they roll down their windows and confirm their names to a staff member who gets the order and places it inside the trunk of the car.
Patrons who cannot go online can telephone 931-3400 to request books for curbside pickup.
"Sometimes these calls come from our regular patrons, who we're accustomed to seeing regularly at the library, so it has become especially nice to hear from them during the shelter in place," said Lia Bushong, assistant director for library and recreation. "We recognize the value and importance of building relationships with our patrons, and we're proud of the many meaningful connections we've made with individuals throughout our diverse community -- many of whom would come to the library several times a week."
She noted that librarians continue to provide other services over the phone, including book recommendations, research assistance and referrals to agencies that can help with taxes and employment development.
"We have helped connect patrons with community and supportive resources in times of need," Bushong said.
The library is not currently accepting donations of books, but checked out library materials can be returned to the outside book drop. They undergo a seven-day quarantine before they are placed onto the shelves again, which may add to the time required to fulfill a request, Binzoni pointed out.
The library continues to order new books and materials during this shelter in place period, he added.
"We are focused on acquiring popular titles for all age groups, across a diverse set of media formats -- traditional books and DVDs, plus eBooks and audiobooks," he said, "and we are working on a staffing model that allows for quicker materials' transfer from shipping box to patrons."