Curbside Holds Pickup FAQs

Why is curbside service starting three weeks after opening book drops?

We currently have over 300,000 materials checked out right now and are quarantining all materials for three days prior to checking anything in. We anticipate the volume of returned materials will be incredibly high and will be navigating our new systems to safely get materials back in.

While we would have liked to start curbside service at the beginning of July, there were planned closures of our locations for the Independence Day holiday on July 3 and 4 and a mandatory City furlough day on July 6.

Why can’t I place new holds now to pick up on July 7?

At many of our locations, shelves are full with holds that were placed prior to our closure. We want to ensure customers can pick up their holds placed prior to our closure and clear our hold shelves before we start to pull new holds. All materials covered with a plastic or mylar cover will be disinfected prior to being placed in a holds area for customer pick up. New holds can be placed starting July 13.

Why do I have to make an appointment to pick up my holds?

This is new to us too! In order to ensure we can follow physical distancing best practices for our staff and our customers, we are requesting customers make an appointment to pick up their holds.

When will other in-person library services start?

We know people are eager for us to provide more in-person options and fully reopen. Beginning to provide in-person services in a safe way is complex, particularly for Denver as we are the largest library system in the state. Our teams have been working diligently behind the scenes to begin to phase in services with customer and staff safety top of mind.

This pandemic will change the way we do business and the library will look different as we begin to provide more in-person services. We are continuing to collaborate with the City and public health officials to provide the resources our customers need in a safe way.

Why hasn’t the library fully reopened?

The Denver Public Library has long prided itself on being a leader and taking calculated risks to move quickly and provide needed services to our changing community. Programs such as our Community Resources (read: social workers), Early Learning, Makerspace and Digital Inclusion work, services to older adults, and others demonstrate this flexibility, innovation and commitment. During this time when we've been closed, our team has continued to demonstrate this through new virtual and analog programs and services, outreach in the community and support of newly needed City services.

We're currently in the midst of a global pandemic that universally has continued to pose more questions than answers, and are focusing our efforts around providing as many services as we can in a way that's as safe as possible. Based on prevailing understanding of how coronavirus spreads, the way our urban public buildings are typically used presents risks to our staff and community that are not comfortable for us. The Denver Public Library is a community hub whose mission is to create welcoming spaces where all are free to explore and connect. Our spaces are used to bring people together. For now, we believe the responsible thing to do is focus our efforts on identifying new ways to connect to our customers.

Other library systems in large urban communities also remain closed including: Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle, Portland and Boston.

When will the library fully reopen?

If it is safe to do so, the soonest we’d expect to reopen some locations would be in mid-September - we are creating plans for what this may look like. This tentative date is subject to change based on public health trends and guidance.

This pandemic has changed the way we go about our day to day lives and will change the way the library operates and our spaces will look different when we do reopen. Limiting capacity and maintaining physical distancing will be difficult and look different for each location and we are working through these challenges.

Why are stores and restaurants open but the library is not?

Libraries tend to be spaces where people gather - often for extended periods of time - versus solely being an in and out type of space.  Everything in the library is shared - from the materials, to the furniture, to the spaces. This must be done carefully to ensure that customers and staff are able to safely share resources.

Current public health guidance indicates that the disease spreads when people are gathered indoors for extended periods of time and limits the number of people that are able to gather per square foot - this makes planning for what reopening looks like more complex.