Library Closure FAQ

How long will the Library and Bookmobile be closed?

At this point we are closed until further notice. We are continually monitoring COVID-19 health guidelines and will announce a date when we have assurance we can safely return to the building.

Can I still contact the Library with my questions?

Library staff are answering phone, email, and chat questions from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm Monday through Friday. Please call 319-356-5200 or reach us through for help!

Can I sign up for a library card while you’re closed, so I can use the digital library?

Yes! We can create library cards remotely for people living in Iowa City, Hills, University Heights, Lone Tree, or rural Johnson County. Get started by filling out the form at and contact us after completion. 

I forgot my PIN/password.  Can I reset it?

Yes, you can reset it yourself.  You will receive an email with a link to create a new PIN/password. For questions, reach us through

Should I return my checkouts?

We encourage everyone to keep their checkouts at home until the Library reopens. Currently the return location attached to the building is open, but nothing will be checked in while we’re closed. The remote book drops on 1st Ave and Mormon Trek are locked.

Can I renew my checkouts?

All due dates will be automatically extended to three weeks after any future reopen date.

Can I place a hold on available library items? 

We have turned off this feature since staff are not in the building to pull these items for future pickup. 

Will I miss picking up my holds?

All currently available holds will have a pick-up date of one week after we reopen.

Can I request a new interlibrary loan while you’re closed?

Interlibrary loan service is suspended until the Library reopens.

Can I renew or return my interlibrary loan that’s due?

Due dates for interlibrary loan materials have been extended.  Please keep those materials until the Library reopens.

Why aren’t you offering curbside pickup?

For now our focus is keeping staff safe by working remotely and our patrons safe by limiting potential exposure. We will be sure to make an announcement when any new service is unveiled and look forward to seeing you all again at the library! You can read our Director's update for more information behind the decision. 


Recent News


My stepdaughter told me that the Roseville, Minnesota, library is offering curbside service. If the library is close for another month, please consider offering this service. The Roseville Library is not allowing books to be checked in however, so they aren't overwhelmed with returned books
I am okay because I can check out EBooks, but others are not so lucky.

Jason's picture

Thank you for your comment. We are definitely anxious to get materials in the hands of our patrons! For now our focus is keeping staff safe by working remotely and you all safe by limiting potential exposure. We will be sure to make an announcement when any new service is unveiled and look forward to seeing you all again at the library!

It is becoming rather expensive to continually order books online as I will not use a kindle. Please consider offering a simple online order service with curbside pickup

I ended up getting a library card from Coralville so we could get some dvds. Living in rural Johnson county I cannot stream movies without distorted video but can download books to read.
How do I access dvds in your collection via either my Coralville Library card or ICPL card?
Coralville is even willing to mail them to me. Coralville Library collection has limited dvds of interest tour though.
Thank you

Jason's picture

We don't currently have staff working in the building, you can read more about our decision in our Director's post at:

The Coralville Library has had curbside pickup that is contact free. I would ask that the process that they are using to do this service be explored and implemented for ICPL. I am not advocating unsafe practices, but there is a lot of experience with curbside services w/o spreading COVID. An alternative process for staff distancing may be being done in other libraries that could be learned from. Having specific pick up times makes sense. I would suggest that keeping the hold limit at 10 makes sense, in order to decrease the number of visits per patron. It is very clear that we are a long way from being truly safe for in person services, and that a curbside service is far safer than having patrons in the building. One way to move towards this is to allow people to put things on their hold list again, so that you would have a way to prepare some hold lists for pick up ahead of offering the service.

Jason's picture

Posted on behalf of Library Director, Elsworth Carman:
Thank you for reaching out to the Iowa City Public Library with your questions and specific suggestions about our reopening plans. We currently have staff committees working on plans for reestablishing services in a tiered way; we will most likely start with a holds pickup system, then move on to technology access, programming, reference services, etc. I don't have a date for the start of holds pickup, but our plans will be completed soon, so we can roll them out when it seems right to do so. It’s great that both Coralville and North Liberty have been successful in offering a curbside service. Each library and community have different needs and challenges, and we know that our holds pickup service will look different than the systems used by our neighbors, in part because of our downtown location, limited number of parking spots, and high volume of materials and patrons. We’re up for the challenge, but we know our solution will be different than other agencies around us.

For additional context, we have had the building service desks measured for plexiglass barriers and have appropriate PPE either in stock or ordered, so we will be ready to welcome patrons back as soon as appropriate. We still plan to be cautious and intentional about how we reopen; I take my role as a director very seriously in this situation, and anything I can do to protect the staff and our patrons is worth it to me.

I hope this answers your questions, but if not, please feel free to contact me directly at or 319.356.5241. I would be more than happy to continue this conversation.

I’m wondering how patrons of library will know if IC public library begins service with holds pick-up system. I didn’t realize library was closing indefinitely until after you had closed and only then did I know about it by reading announcement in a newspaper. That is, there was no advanced notice.
Sometimes I drive by library to see if there are any updates posted. Hopefully there’s a more immediate and direct way of informing patrons...should you begin opening in tiers.

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