Beginning Saturday, May 15, customers may visit Howard County Library System branches without making a reservation.
- Access public computers
- Browse the shelves
- Check out your own items using self-checkout machines or our new HCLS CheckItOut app
- Borrow tools and other items from the DIY Center at the Elkridge Branch
- Borrow framed prints and photographs from the Art Education Collection at the Central Branch
- Print, copy, scan, and fax
- Ask staff for in-person assistance finding materials or other resources
- Apply for a passport (must call East Columbia Branch at 410.313.7700 to make appointment)
Services still available:
- Contactless pickup
- Bundle Bags
- Downloadable ebooks and audiobooks
- eContent to stream, download, and learn
- On demand classes and tutorials
- Virtual classes and events
- Sign up for a library card
- Ask staff for assistance by phone, email or web
Services not yet available:
- Meeting room usage and reservations
- In-person classes and events
- Donations of books and other materials
- Central, East Columbia, Elkridge, Miller, Savage branches:
Mon 10 am – 8 pm
Tue – Wed 10 am – 6 pm
Thu 10 am – 8 pm
Fri – Sat 10 am – 6 pm
- *Due to construction, the Glenwood Branch building is not open to customers. Hours for contactless pickup of holds and Bundle Bags are:
Mon 2 pm – 8 pm
Tue – Wed 2 pm – 6 pm
Thu 2 pm – 8 pm
Fri – Sat 2 pm – 6 pm
Quarantining of Items
Effective Monday, March 22, HCLS will no longer quarantine materials. This decision was made in consultation with local health officials based on the current data. There are no known transmission of COVID-19 through contaminated books or other library materials in any library.
As understanding of the COVID-19 virus evolves, scientists and experts now know that materials can be safely handled without quarantine. National and local health officials continue to emphasize the importance of frequent, thorough 20-second hand washing. Data shows that hand washing is effective at reducing transmission of COVID-19.
- March 16, 2020: Phase 1 began.
- April 2020: Phase 2 began.
- June 29, 2020: Phase 3 began with contactless pickup.
- April 5, 2021: Phase 4 began with limited in-person service.
While COVID-19 necessitated the temporary closure of our branches, the pandemic has not stopped the delivery of premier educational offerings to the community.
Our creative and innovative team quickly pivoted to begin offering COVID-19 resources via our website, virtual STEM classes, early learning and adult education classes, online book clubs, video tutorials, and blogs. We bolstered eContent, including eBooks, eAudiobooks, digital magazines, newspapers, movies, music, and more.
Our phased reopening plan is based on best practices in libraries around the nation and the world, state and local orders, and guidance from local health officials. The safety of our customers and staff has been and continues to be our highest priority.