RHPL Preparedness & Response Plan to COVID-19
Frequently Asked Questions

The following FAQs relate to RHPL's Phase Three: Grab & Go Service in effect beginning Feb. 1.

Is the library open?

The library is open for Grab & Go service and limited visiting times. Patrons may come in to browse the library's shelves and check out materials using our self-serve checkout kiosks throughout the building. We ask patrons to limit their visits for browsing and checkouts. Residents may use select computers for 60 minutes. Patrons with a guest card may use select computers for up to 30 minutes. Patrons are still encouraged to use our drive-thru window service for their library needs such as picking up holds. 

Why do you close and reopen?

RHPL has managed its response to COVID-19 with our staff, volunteers, and patrons' health and safety as a priority. We monitor local COVID-19 cases reported by local health authorities and plan accordingly. RHPL follows guidelines and recommendations from the Oakland County Health Department and the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services, as well as other local health officials so that everyone may experience a safe work and community environment. RHPL will stay safe to stay open.

Are your public restrooms open?


What Can I Expect in Phase 3?

  • Face masks covering the nose and mouth are required for all library patrons five years of age and older. No exceptions will be made. Face shields are not a suitable replacement for cloth masks. 
  • Patrons and staff must continue to remain six feet or more apart.
  • Library hours remain the same. See Location & Hours.
  • Drinking fountains and vending machines are turned off and out of operation. 
  • The community Bookmobile is off the road until further notice.
  • Routine cleaning of public spaces and high-touch areas continues.
  • Computer use is limited: residents may use select computers for 60 minutes (no extensions at this time). Non-residents may use a select computer for 30 minutes (no extensions at this time). 
  • Magazines will circulate and can be enjoyed at home.
  • Newspapers are temporarily unavailable. 
  • Tech assistance will be provided remotely
  • Meeting rooms, study rooms, and the Eureka Lab remain closed.
  • Small donations of books are accepted and can be placed in the donation bins near the Circulation desk. For larger book donations, call the Friends of RHPL at 248-650-7178.
  • The Friends Library Store is open by appointment only. Call 248-650-7179 to make an appointment. 

How do I return my library materials?

Patrons can return library items at the drive-thru window, automated return (open 24/7), or in the lobby using the return slots. 

Can RHPL suggest books for patrons to read?

Yes, of course! You can call the mainline at 248-650-2900 and speak to a librarian who will be happy to provide reading lists and recommendations. You can also visit rhpl.org, hover over the Departments tab at the top, and select Adult, Teen, Youth, or Outreach to find reading recommendations and to email librarians.

Do I have to wear a face mask when I come into the library entrance/lobby?

Yes. All RHPL visitors five years of age and older are required to wear a face mask covering the nose and mouth when in the library. No exceptions (including medical) will be made since there are alternative ways to use the library and check out materials, including laptops bundled with WiFi hotspots and using our drive-thru window service. Face shields are not a suitable or acceptable alternative to a cloth mask. Disposable face masks, generously donated by Ford Motor Company Fund, will be available at the library entrance for those who do not have one. If you do not wish to wear a face mask, you may use our drive-thru services to pick up library items. For more on this policy, visit our Code of Conduct policy on Customer Service

What is a hold?

A hold is like a reservation. You can select items such as books, DVDs, and other materials, online at rhpl.org using your RHPL card (or over the phone) and reserve them for pickup at the drive-thru window or inside in the lobby. Sometimes an item you want to hold is already checked out or has one or more holds/reservations before you. You can still select to hold the item and wait for it to become available for you. 

How do I place a hold on library items?

You can call (248) 656-2900 and ask for a librarian's assistance in placing a hold on an item you would like to check out. You can also log into your online account at rhpl.org. Click on the My Account tab in the upper right of the library's web page. Log in using your library card number and PIN (usually the last four digits of your phone number). Browse the online catalogs. When you find an item you would like to check out, Click on Place a Hold -- a tab on the right side of the item entry. Follow the prompts and click submit. The hold will then be placed and RHPL will notify you by text or email that the hold has been placed and when you may pick it up. 
View our video tutorial on how to place holds at RHPL.

How do I pick up held items?

Patrons may pick up held items after they receive an email or text notification from the library that the items are ready for pick up. There are two pick-up locations: the Drive-thru window and the Library Holds Shelf near the Circulation Desk. Your notification will indicate where your held items are waiting. You can check out the items using the self-checkout station in the lobby.

Can I skip the drive-thru line?

Yes, You can choose to pick up holds in our lobby inside the library. 

What are the library's hours?

RHPL is open Monday - Thursday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday & Saturday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. The library is closed for major holidays. Visit Location & Hours for more information. 

Is the bookmobile running as scheduled?

RHPL Bookmobile service is temporarily suspended. Please call Outreach Services at 248-650-7152 for questions about Bookmobile holds, etc. 

Can I reserve Blue Bus materials?
Not at this time. 

Can I still borrow Mel-Cat Items?

Please call (248) 656-2900 for updated Mel-Cat borrowing information. 

Can I still borrow the library's digital items?

Yes. Patrons are encouraged to continue using the library's online resources. RHPL's online library is open to all cardholders 24/7. Patrons may place holds on physical items for pick-up and may also borrow the latest eBooks, audiobooks, streaming movies, TV shows, concerts, and databases at rhpl.org. 

Can I reserve a meeting room?

Not at this time. RHPL apologizes for the inconvenience. 

Are library programs only online?

Library programs are either available online or as take & make kits. View our Events calendar for more information.

How can I attend library programs online?

RHPL's online programs are presented in a variety of online formats including Zoom and Google Meet. Registration with an email address is required for most programs. Registrants will then receive an email with the meeting link and instructions. Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet are free to use. If you need assistance with Zoom, please visit our online tutorials for step-by-step instructions. 

How can I view the library's recorded lectures?

Click on Video Lectures under the Community Programs tab at rhpl.org or visit our YouTube channel to see all of our recorded lectures on a variety of topics including health and wellness, history, art, science, and more. 

If I have overdue items, will I accrue a fine?

Yes. The new fines threshold is $15 (increased from $5). Once patrons reach $15 in fines, they cannot check out materials until the fine is paid. However, RHPL has extended library loan times and removed one and three-day loans.

Are you cleaning returned items?

Beginning March 17, returned library items will be set aside for 24 hours before recirculating to the public. If you wish to have your materials set aside for a longer period, you may use our holds shelf where items are held up to five days for patron pick up.

How do I return my library materials?

The automated return box is open 24/7 (next to the drive-thru window). The return slots are open inside the library lobby during regular business hours.

My library card is about to expire. How can I renew?
Call (248) 656-2900 to renew your card for one year over the phone. 

How do I borrow electronic resources from rhpl.org?

Patrons are encouraged to visit rhpl.org to discover the latest eBooks, audiobooks, streaming movies, TV shows, and concerts, along with several online databases free of charge. There are many RHPL resources to help you continue using the library from home at your convenience. All of these resources are free to RHPL cardholders. These resources include:

  • Automatic Item Renewals: Items that are due will renew automatically up to eight times.
  • Digital Resources: 
    • Overdrive/Libby: Access the latest magazine titles, eBooks, and audiobooks from your computer or mobile devices.
    • Hoopla Digital: Instant access to streaming movies, TV shows, ebooks, comics, and more.
    • Kanopy: Stream over 26,000 films. o Acorn TV: Streaming television from Britain and beyond.
    • Qello Concerts: Stream full-length concerts and music documentaries.

Can I apply for a library card?

Yes. Patrons can apply for a library card online. Fill out the pre-registration form then (248) 656-2900 and the RHPL Circulation team will assign you a library card you can pick up during regular business hours at the drive-thru window. 

I'm having trouble borrowing or downloading ebooks. 

Visit RHPL's online tutorials for assistance with accessing our online resources.  Or call (248) 656-2900 during open hours for assistance. 

I need to use the library's printers. Can I ask you to print something for me?

Yes. Patrons who are residents of Rochester, Rochester Hills, or Oakland Twp. may print to RHPL's printer. Printing fees are: $.10 per black/white page and $.50 per color page. Print virtually any document or web page from your Internet-connected PC to one of our library printers. Visit www.rhpl.org/print to get started. 

If I have questions about my account, is there someone who can help me?

For assistance with online resources, your library account, or other questions, call 248-656-2900 (press 3 for the department menu) during operating hours. You may also send a direct message to our Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter channels. 

Where can I find information about COVID-19 vaccines?



 Updated 4/5/21