Returning to the Library: Frequently Asked Questions

Returning to the Library: Frequently Asked Questions

Visiting the Library | Checking Out Materials | Accessing Technology
Events | Reserving Rooms | Health and Safety

Visiting the Library

What Libraries Are Currently Open?
All 26 DC Public Library Locations are open. See all locations on our Hours and Locations page

What are the Library's current hours?
The Library is currently open from:
  • Monday - Wednesday: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
  • Thursday: Noon - 8 p.m.
  • Friday - Saturday: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Why are hours reduced?
In order to ensure a safe return to library services for staff and public, we have reduced hours. This will better allow the Library to limit the number of people who can be in the building, clean and disinfect the spaces regularly, reconfigure spaces as needed to better accommodate social distancing and to manage and process returned materials safely.

How has the Library managed reopening?
The Library has opened in phases to make sure we can provide service safely to our customers and provide a safe space for our staff to work while practicing social distancing per the required health guidelines. 
Phase 1 took effect on May 29, 2020, and included limited services of book and remote print job pick up. Phase 2 took effect on Monday, March 29, 2021, with limited services in select library locations to include limited public computer access, remote print services, holds pick up, printing, returning library materials and gradual phasing in of additional services. Dates for Phases 3 and 4 have not yet been determined. 

Can I use the bathroom?

Can I sit and read in the Library?
Yes, you can sit at our tables and chairs in our lounge areas to meet, study, work and read.


Can I eat while in the Library?
No, there is no eating allowed inside the library due to the mask mandate. Masks must be worn at all times while in the Library.


Borrowing and Returning Materials

Do I need a DC Public Library Card to check out materials?
Yes, you can sign up for a DC Public Library card online or you can visit any Library location. 

How can I search for items?
You can search for items and place holds online using the 
Library catalog. You can also come into any of our Library locations to browse the shelves. The Library also has a substantial digital collection, including e-Books, e-Audiobooks, online courses and streaming movies and music that you can access via goDigital.

How can I check out items? 

You can check out physical items using your DC Public Library card using our self check-out machines or at our circulation desk.

Where do I return materials?
You can return materials at any time using the drop-boxes located outside all library locations. During library hours you can also return them to the circulation desk.

Accessing Technology

Can I use a computer at the Library?
Yes, Library locations have a limited number of public computers available for customers. You can sign up for one 70-minute session per day or multiple 15-minute express sessions throughout the day. 

Does the Library have Wi-Fi?
Yes, all Library locations have free Wi-Fi available for you to use on your personal devices. 

Can I print, copy and scan items?
Yes, you can print, copy and scan up to 20 pages for free each day. You can also send a document for remote printing. Learn more on the Library's Computer Use page.



Can I attend Library programs? 
Yes, DC Public Library has a great selection of virtual, outdoor and self-directed programming that customers of all ages can enjoy. You can see upcoming programs on the Library's calendarYou can also follow us on YoutubeTwitter, Instagram and Facebook to be notified of upcoming virtual programs. That information is also available on our calendar and through our weekly e-newsletter.

Reserving Rooms

Can I hold my meeting at the Library?
Yes. Meeting rooms are now open at all library locations. Visit our meeting rooms page to review our meeting room policies reserve a space today. 

Can I come and study at the Library?
Yes. You can study at our tables in chairs in our lounge areas. You can also reserve a study room using the same room reservation process as our meeting rooms. 


Health and Safety

Is it safe to visit the Library?
We are exceeding all the precautions recommended by the CDC and the DC Health Department to mitigate risks in the Library for staff and customers. This includes requiring masks, social distancing, continuous cleaning and disinfecting and limiting the number of people in our buildings. Only you can decide if any visit outside your home is safe. We have also greatly expanded digital access to materials and programs to help deliver Library services as safely as possible.

Do I need to wear a mask?

Yes. All Library staff and customers are required to wear masks inside and while doing business at the Library; however, masks are not recommended for children under the age of two or for those who have difficulty breathing with masks. This will keep everyone as safe as possible. If you are uncomfortable wearing a mask for any reason, we will be happy to help you by phone, email, or online chat. 

Can I get COVID-19 from touching Library materials?
Scientific studies indicate that it is highly unlikely that people contract COVID-19 from touching things. As a precaution, wash your hands frequently and do not touch your face with unclean hands.

Can I bring my children to the Library?
All visitors to the Library must adhere to our mask-wearing protocols. Masks are not recommended for children under the age of two or for those who have difficulty breathing with masks. During this pandemic, we are asking that children be supervised by a responsible adult at all times for their safety and the safety of others.

Will you still have play areas?
Right now, all of our play areas are closed to the public.