The following will be adjusted as necessary. Please check back often for updates.
Q. What Library services are currently available?
- Holds pickup: In the Central Library Auditorium.
- Basic account services: Sign up for a library card, renew library cards, update temporary library cards and update mailing address.
- Returns: at all Library locations, in the book returns.
Q. What safety measures are in place?
- All patrons and staff must maintain six foot social distancing requirements.
- All patrons and staff must wear masks. For more information, please see the Arlington County Visitor Face Covering Policy.
- Hand sanitizer is available for patrons entering and leaving Central Library.
- Service points have sneeze-guard partitions.
- Frequent cleaning and deep cleaning of staff and public spaces
- Restrooms are not be available to the public
Q. Where can I park at Central Library?
Please park in the surface parking lots. The parking garage is currently closed to the public.
Holds Pickup and Services
Q. What is the process for holds pickup?
Access to the auditorium will be metered, with patrons lining up at six-foot intervals outside Library entrance closest to the tennis courts / surface parking lot.
Once inside the auditorium, up to four service stations will be available. Library staff will retrieve your holds, check them out to you, and pass them to you with no/limited contact.
Patrons will then exit across the Auditorium, through the doors onto the garden porch and walk down the pathway to the parking lot.
Library bathrooms are closed. Public restrooms are available on the outside of Central Library, facing the Quincy Park baseball field.
Q. What can I do besides pick up my holds?
Basic account services such as applying for and renewing library cards can be handled at the auditorium service points. The process is the same as for holds pickup.
Q. What is the County's Face Covering Policy?
Q. Can I bring my family when I pick up my holds?
When possible, please send one household member to retrieve holds. Bring the associated library card for any holds you are picking up. You may also use the library app to manage all the accounts from one household, and to access digital library cards for each account.
Q. I have a condition that prevents me from standing in line. How can I get my holds?
Accessibility pickup is available for patrons with a physical accessibility issue that prevents them from using our normal holds-only service model. If you are in need of accessibility accommodation, you can schedule your holds pickup by calling the Library at 703-228-5990.
Q. How long will my holds remain at Central for pickup once I am notified that they are available?
As of July 29, items will remain on the shelf for 5 days. Read more about holds wait times.
Q. What about the holds on my account that are not yet ready?
All holds placed before June 15 have been frozen, and as of June 22 the pickup location has been changed to Central (the only available location). Frozen holds keep their place in line but do not come ready.
To receive your holds at Central, log into your account and click on "thaw" next to each item that you are ready to receive.
You may also cancel any holds you no longer want or need.
Q. I thawed my holds, and now I'm number 1 for a number of items that had long wait times... What happened?
After thawing your holds, your placement in line for each item will fluctuate as other patrons with holds on the same titles thaw or freeze their holds.
Q. I have holds that were previously set for pick up at a location besides Central Library.
As of June 22, all holds set to pick up at other locations have been set to Central Library. To receive these holds, log into your account and click on "thaw" next to each item that you are ready to receive.
If you do not wish to pick up your holds at Central Library, you may cancel them or keep them frozen (frozen holds keep their place in line) until your preferred location reopens for pickup service. At that time you will need to thaw the hold.
When you place a new hold, only Central Library will be an option for holds pick up until Branch locations reopen for holds pickup.
Q. How long will it take for my holds to come in?
There will be a delay in filling many holds as all returned Library materials will be quarantined upon return for 72 hours. Read more about hold wait times (update: August 6).
Q. How many physical holds can I have on my account?
You can have as many as 30 holds at a time in any status (ready, frozen, not ready, etc.).
Q. How can I return Library materials?
You can return Library materials to the exterior book drops at Central Library and all Branch Library locations except for Columbia Pike. All library materials can now be returned in the bookdrop including DVDs, games, dolls, etc.
Returns will not be accepted in the Central Library Auditorium.
Q. I returned my books earlier this week, but they are still on my account 5 days later. What's going on?
Library materials must be quarantined for 72 hours before being checked in. This means that your items can stay on your account for at least 4 days between when you return them, and when we are able to check them in. After the quarantine process is over, we backdate items to the date when they were returned.
If over 5 days have passed since you returned your library items, and they still remain on your account, please contact us.
Q. What is the disinfectant process for Library materials?
Library materials will be set aside for 72 hours before being processed. Library staff will practice appropriate safety procedures as laid out by County health officials, and may adjust procedures based on the latest research and guidance.
You may choose to set aside library materials for 72 hours after you receive them.
Fines and Fees
Q. Am I accruing overdue fees on materials I checked out before the closure?
All due dates on material checked out before June 15 have been extended to July 1, 2020 or later. Due dates have been staggered over the summer to avoid a rush of returns. Please check your account for specific due dates. No daily overdue fees will accrue on these materials.
Q. How can I pay fines and fees I owe?
Fine payment is not available online or at Central Library at this time. If your card is blocked due to overdue fines, please contact us.
Q. Is the Library going “Fine Free”?
Daily library overdue fees were eliminated in the FY21 Arlington County Budget. No new daily overdue fees will accrue after July 1, 2020. Lost material fees and other service fees will still apply. Overdue fees charged before July 1, 2020 will remain due on library accounts. Learn more.
Q. Are you accepting book donations?
No. The Library cannot accept book donations at this time. We cannot store any donated books - please do not leave them at any library location.
Q. I’d like to volunteer at the Library.
The Library is unable to accommodate volunteers during this phase of reopening. We will welcome our volunteers back as soon as we can safely do so.
Q. When will the Library fully reopen?
The safety of our staff and patrons is our primary concern. Arlington Public Library does not currently have a timeline for reopening to other services. The Library will work closely with Arlington County leadership and medical authorities to evaluate the ongoing situation. Please stay tuned, we will announce when we are able to safely open additional library services. We thank patrons for their patience as we work to safely reopen our library system.