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Effective immediately, all Madison Public Library locations will reopen book drops for 24/7 return of library materials.

“Initially we did not know enough about how the virus was being transmitted. As more research indicates now that COVID-19 is primarily spread through direct contact with affected individuals, we are reopening our book drops and decreasing our quarantine period to 24 hours, ” said Library Director Greg Mickells. “The research has been reviewed by public health agencies and they agree that this is a safe step forward for our staff and the public.”

The decision to reopen book drops and reduce the quarantine period was based on new guidance from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services after that agency reviewed new guidance from the State Library of Oregon and the Reopening Archives, Libraries and Museums (REALM) Project. Book drops were closed at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic along with other library services. In May, returns were once again accepted at libraries in mobile carts during curbside service hours, with a 72 hour quarantine period on items before check in.

Madison customers will find that the items they return to Madison libraries are checked in faster, but may not notice faster service for holds and delivery of items from other libraries. All participating libraries in the South Central Library System have different procedures for quarantining of materials and libraries are still experiencing longer delays in transfer of materials between libraries than in the time before COVID-19.

Madison Libraries Are Fine Free
Library materials returned late during the COVID-19 pandemic have not incurred overdue fees.  “When we closed for COVID-19, we extended due dates and temporarily eliminated fines for overdue materials,” said Borrower Services Manager Margie Navarre Saaf.  In August of 2020, the Madison Public Library Board eliminated library overdue fines, and Madison Public Library staff are in the process of removing library fines from customer records, prioritizing those with blocks on their cards for fine elimination first.  Madison customers who’ve had their card blocked due to overdue fines can contact the library at 608-266-6357 to have their card unblocked and the fines removed.

More information
Currently Available Library Services
Madison Public Library’s Fine Free Page
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