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

The following FAQs relate to RHPL's Phase Four of its Reopening Plan which is in effect until Feb. 1, when the library moves to Phase Three: Grab & Go Service. FAQs will be updated on Feb. 1, 2021.

Is the library closed?

The library is not closed for business, but is not permitting patrons and visitors into the main library beyond the entrances/lobby area due to rising numbers of COVID-19 cases in Oakland County and Michigan. RHPL has managed our response to COVID-19 with the health and safety of our staff, volunteers, and patrons as our priority. RHPL will stay safe to stay open.

Is the library open?

The library is open for business with express self-checkout on holds in the lobby and at the drive-thru window. Patrons may access the building using either the south or west entrance, but will not be permitted beyond the lobby area for the time being. Our COVID-19 Reopening Plan allows the library to open to the public safely and responsibly and to pivot back to previous phases if COVID-19 cases should rise or new shut-downs are announced. 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.

Are your public restrooms open?

No. For the time being the first floor public restrooms are closed to the public. RHPL apologizes for any inconvenience.

What phase did you move from?

Since July 6, RHPL was in Phase Three of its Reopening Plan. This is the Grab & Go phase and allowed for limited number of patrons in the building for up to one hour to browse and checkout materials. Computer stations were limited to three hours of use per library card. Study and meeting rooms remained closed. The Bookmobile was in service.

What’s different in Phase Four?

In Phase Four:

  • Library hours remain the same; 
  • Building access is limited to Express Pickup & Return either in the lobby or at the drive-thru window;
  • Held items are available either at the drive-thru window or in the lobby of the library. Patrons may choose their pick up location when the hold is placed either on the phone or through their online account at rhpl.org.
  • Librarians are available to answer questions by phone or email;
  • The community Bookmobile is off the road.

Patrons can return library items at the drive-thru window, automated return, or in the lobby using the return slots. 

Why can’t I browse the shelves?

RHPL’s priority is the health and safety of patrons, staff, and volunteers. With rising numbers of COVID-19 cases occurring in Oakland County and Michigan, RHPL believes stepping back a bit to limit access to the library building is a prudent and necessary step to help mitigate the spread of the virus in our communities.

Can RHPL suggest books for patrons to read?

Yes, you can call the main line 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 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 old and older are required to wear a face mask that covers the nose and mouth when in the library and potentially interacting with others. Disposable face masks 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. 

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 number (usually the last four digits of your phone number). Browse the onlince 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. 

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: Drive-thru window and the Library Lobby. Your notification will indicate where your held items are waiting. You can checkout the items using the self-checkout station in the lobby.

Why where the doors locked when I came to pick up my holds?

To ensure proper distancing between staff and patrons in the lobby, we must lock the entrance doors for 15-25 minutes while our Circulation team puts items on the shelves Mondays through Saturdays at 2:30 p.m. and on Sundays at 4 p.m. There are signs on the door alerting patrons when the entrances have been temporarily closed. We apologize for any inconvenience. 

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 the Location & Hours tab at the top menu for more information. 

Is the bookmobile running as scheduled?

The bookmobile is suspended from service in Phase Four. Please contact Outreach Services at (248) 650-7152 for questions about Bookmobile holds, etc. 

Can I reserve Blue Bus materials?
No. 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-home kits. View our Events calendar for more information.

How can I attend library programs online?

RHPL's online programs will be presented in a variety of 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 Meets is free for patrons 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?

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 checkout 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?

All returned library materials are set aside for 72 hours (three days) before being recirculated to the public on the fifth day. 

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: 
    • RBDigital Magazines: Access the latest magazine titles to your computer or mobile devices.
    • Hoopla Digital: Instant access to streaming movies, TV shows, ebooks, comics, and more.
    • Cloud Library: Download ebooks and audiobooks to your computer or mobile devices.
    • 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 operating hours for assistance. 

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

Yes. Patrons (must be residents of Rochester, Rochester Hills, or Oakland Twp.) may print up to $30 per day per library card for free. Print requests beyond $30 will be charged to the patron. 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 messages to our Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter channels. 

 Updated 11.30.20