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SCLSNJ Taking Precautions2020-08-03T11:29:20-04:00

SCLSNJ Taking Precautions

Update: Mon 8/3/2020 11:30 A.M.

Here is SCLSNJ’s limited schedule of open hours. 

Bridgewater, Manville, Mary Jacobs, North Plainfield, Peapack and Gladstone, Somerville, Warren Township, and Watchung branches:

  • Monday-Thursday: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
  • Friday and Saturday: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Bridgewater and Warren Township branches:

  • Sundays: 1-5 p.m.

Hillsborough branch:

  • Monday-Friday: 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
  • Saturday and Sunday: Closed

SCLSNJ’s Bound Brook branch will remain closed until further notice due to an issue with the HVAC system. The Branchburg Reading Station and the Washington Valley Reading Station will remain closed until further notice due to capacity constraints.

Returns: 

Even though our book drops are still closed, you can return your items at any of our open branches when you come inside.

Update: Thu 7/2/2020 8:30 A.M.

Starting Monday, July 6, 2020 SCLSNJ will reopen with a limited schedule. 

Bridgewater, Manville, Mary Jacobs, North Plainfield, Peapack and Gladstone, Somerville, Warren Township, and Watchung branches:

  • Monday-Thursday: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
  • Friday and Saturday: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Bridgewater and Warren Township branches:

  • Sundays: 1-5 p.m.

Hillsborough branch:

  • Monday-Friday: 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

SCLSNJ’s Bound Brook branch will remain closed until further notice due to an issue with the HVAC system. The Branchburg Reading Station and the Washington Valley Reading Station will remain closed until further notice due to capacity constraints.

Update: Wed 6/24/2020 2:00 P.M.

Today, Governor Murphy announced that libraries are permitted to open to the public at 25% capacity starting on July 2. Since we would have otherwise been closed on July 3, 4 and 5 in observance of the Independence Day holiday, SCLSNJ is working on specific plans for reopening starting Monday, July 6, 2020.

What does that mean?

Library administration and staff are still working on finalizing details related to reopening our doors to the public. We will post updates here as soon as we have more information to share.

Update: Mon 6/15/2020 4:00 P.M.

With Governor Murphy’s most recent Phase II announcement, we are pleased to offer contactless pickup of library materials through Hands Free Holds.

After piloting this service, we’ve expanded to nine locations: Bridgewater, Hillsborough (starting June 17), Manville, Mary Jacobs, North Plainfield, Peapack & Gladstone, Somerville (starting June 22), Warren Township, and Watchung. We continue to work with borough officials on HVAC issues at Bound Brook.

As each branch gets up and running, we’ve been phasing things in, starting by reaching out to people with items that were waiting to be picked up when we closed in March. Once that step is complete, we move to pulling materials to fill holds that are “In Queue,” working from the holds placed the longest time ago to the newest. As your items become available, we will notify you when they are ready to pick up.

Please note:

  • To pick up your holds, you’ll need a Hands Free Holds appointment for a 10-minute pickup window. Instructions for scheduling your appointment will come as part of your hold notification.
  • Our inter-branch delivery service is not at full strength yet. That means it may take more time than usual for us to grab an item at one branch to send it to your preferred pickup branch.
  • All due dates will continue to be extended until we reopen, so hold onto all of your checkouts. We want to make sure we have a safe process for handling returned items, and you can help us by keeping your checkouts until they’re due.
  • NO fines will be charged during the Library’s closure. Any fines that accumulate will be erased before we reopen. 
  • If your library account expiration date is coming up, we will extend it to August 31, 2020.

We know you are eager to get back to the library, and as we take these next patient steps, please know that it is important to all of us at SCLSNJ that we reopen in a way that maintains a safe and healthy environment for our staff and our patrons. 

In the meantime, I invite you to enjoy our virtual programs and services. Our digital resources continue to be available to ALL Somerset County residents, whether your library is part of the County System or not, now through August 31, 2020. Apply for your free digital library card now at sclsnj.org/besafeathome.

Thanks for your continued patience and understanding. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me directly at bauger@sclibnj.org or by phone at (908) 458.8401.

Brian Auger, County Library Administrator

Update: Thu 5/14/2020 8:30 A.M.

The Somerset County Library Commission met last week and decided to maintain the current closure of all Somerset County Library System of New Jersey branches until Governor Murphy lifts the executive order that mandates the closure of public libraries.

Even though our branches are closed, our staff are still hard at work providing virtual services and planning for our eventual reopening.

Our first step was the launch this last week of Hands Free Holds. We have been testing the service at the Bridgewater, Mary Jacobs, and Warren Township branches with items on hold that were waiting to be picked up when we closed in March. We will be expanding this service incrementally over the coming weeks, offering it at more branch locations, and hopefully expanding it to make items that are on our shelves available to you.

We know many of you are eager to get back to the library, and we are looking forward to seeing you, too. This phased approach we’re following may seem slow, and it definitely takes patience, but it is important to all of us at SCLSNJ that we reopen in a way that maintains a safe and healthy environment for our staff and our patrons. 

In the meantime, I invite you to enjoy our virtual programs and services. Our digital resources continue to be available to ALL Somerset County residents, whether your library is part of the County System or not, now through June 30, 2020. Apply for your free digital library card now at sclsnj.org/besafeathome.

Also important to note:

  • All due dates will continue to be extended until we reopen, so hold onto all of your checkouts. We want to make sure we have a safe process for handling returned items, and you can help us by keeping your checkouts until they’re due.
  • NO fines will be charged during the Library’s closure. Any fines that accumulate will be erased before we reopen. 
  • If your library account expiration date is coming up, we will extend it to June 30, 2020.

We deeply appreciate your support during this time, and we will continue to provide the great public library service you’ve come to expect. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me directly at bauger@sclibnj.org or by phone at (908) 458.8401.

Brian Auger, County Library Administrator

Update: Thu 4/2/2020 10:00 A.M.

All Somerset County Library System of New Jersey branches are currently closed to the public. The Library System will continue to evaluate and communicate plans to reopen once Governor Murphy lifts the executive order that mandates the closure of public libraries. 

Our digital resources continue to be available to ALL Somerset County residents, whether your library is part of the County System or not, effective immediately, now through May 31, 2020. Apply for your free digital library card now at sclsnj.org/besafeathome.

Important to note:

  • All due dates will continue to be extended until we reopen, so hold onto all of your checkouts.
  • NO fines will accumulate during the Library’s closure.
  • All holds will be kept on shelves until at least a week after we reopen — no need to suspend them.
  • If your library account expiration date is coming up, we will extended it to May 31, 2020.

Important to note, this is a temporary closure for the time during which there is potential risk of community transmission of COVID-19. The Library System appreciates the support of our community members during this time. Any questions or concerns about these temporary changes should be directed to Auger via email at bauger@sclibnj.org or phone (908) 458.8401.

Update: Thu 3/19/2020 10:30 A.M.

All Somerset County Library System of New Jersey branches will be closed to the public  through at least Sunday, April 5. The Library System will continue to evaluate and communicate future plans as information becomes available. 

Our digital resources will be available to ALL Somerset County residents, whether your library is part of the County System or not, effective immediately through April 30, 2020. Apply for your free digital library card now at sclsnj.org/besafeathome.

Important to note:

  • All due dates have been extended by four weeks, so hold onto all of your checkouts.
  • NO fines will accumulate during the Library’s closure.
  • All holds will be kept on shelves until at least April 20 — no need to suspend them.
  • If your library account expiration date is coming up, we extended it to April 30, 2020.

Important to note, this is a temporary closure for the time during which there is potential risk of community transmission of COVID-19. The Library System appreciates the support of our community members during this time. Any questions or concerns about these temporary changes should be directed to Auger via email at bauger@sclibnj.org or phone (908) 458.8401.

Update: Mon 3/16/2020 1:23 P.M.

All Somerset County Library System of New Jersey branches will be closed to the public effective immediately through at least Sunday, March 29. The Library System will continue to evaluate and communicate future plans as information becomes available. 

Again, the safety of our customers and staff is always our first priority.

Our digital resources will be available to ALL Somerset County residents, whether your library is part of the County System or not, effective immediately through April 30, 2020. Apply for your free digital library card now at sclsnj.org/besafeathome. We are in this together, Somerset County. Let’s all #BeSafeAtHome – while still learning, connecting, exploring, discovering, playing, reading, and more! 

Visit sclsnj.org/besafeathome now.

Important to note:

  • Do not return ANY items to book drops including lucky day, museum pass, and internet on the go devices. Keep all items until further notice. ALL fines will be waived.
  • NO fines will accrue during the Library’s closure. 
  • All due dates for all items, including already late items, will be extended for 4 weeks. Keep your items – read that book a second time, watch that movie 4 more times, enjoy your extra time with your checked out materials. For example, if you have items that would have been due on Monday, March 16, their due dates will be extended until April 13.
  • All holds will be maintained on shelves until April 20. Don’t worry about freezing holds, we will hold them for you.

Important to note, this is a temporary closure for the time during which there is potential risk of community transmission of COVID-19. The Library System appreciates the support of our community members during this time. Any questions or concerns about these temporary changes should be directed to Auger via email at bauger@sclibnj.org or phone (908) 458.8401.

Update: Fri 3/13/2020 4:09 P.M.

Beginning Monday, March 16 through Sunday, March 22, the Library System will be closed to the public. The Library System will continue to evaluate and communicate future plans as information becomes available.

Again, the safety of our customers and staff is always our first priority.

Brian Auger, county library administrator, said, “This may seem like an ominous step, but really, to quote Twitter user Matt Pierce (@mattdpierce), ‘it’s an act of social solidarity. We’re sacrificing so we can give nurses, doctors and hospitals a chance’ by minimizing opportunities for the continued spread of the virus”.

In order to continue to provide superior library services to customers, there are many resources that are available digitally:

Explore more digital resources at sclsnj.org/besafeathome, and partner with your Library System to #BeSafeAtHome.

Important to note, this is a temporary closure for the time during which there is potential risk of community transmission of COVID-19. The Library System appreciates the support of our community members during this time.

Any questions or concerns about these temporary changes should be directed to Auger via email at bauger@sclibnj.org or phone (908) 458.8401.

Update: Thu 3/12/2020 11:45 A.M.

According to a 2020 study from Gallup(This link opens in a new tab), “Visiting the library remains the most common cultural activity Americans engage in.” The study states that the average U.S. adult makes 10.5 trips to the library a year, while making just 5.3 trips to the movie theater. In 2019, the Somerset County Library System of New Jersey (SCLSNJ) totaled over 1.1 million visitors, defining our Libraries as well-used and well-loved.

Since our Libraries are a cornerstone of our communities, SCLSNJ is continuing to monitor information shared from County, State, and National health organizations about the coronavirus (COVID-19). The safety of our customers and staff is always our first priority.

Beginning Monday, March 16 through Tuesday, March 31, the Library System will be canceling all programs for adults, teens, families, and children. The Library System will continue to evaluate and communicate future plans as information becomes available.

“While there has been no reported community spread of the coronavirus in Somerset County, we are being cautious on behalf of our customers and staff,” said County Library Administrator Brian Auger. “We want to do our part to help our health care community manage the situation by reducing opportunities for large groups to congregate.”

The Library System will continue to take steps to maintain the health and safety of our customers and staff, by:

  • Removing all toys from our youth services departments.
  • Ensuring custodial staff focus on cleaning and sanitizing hard surfaces.
  • Encouraging staff who are sick to stay at home.

At this time, all 10 branches will maintain standard operating hours. Important to note, these are temporary changes for the time during which there is potential risk of community transmission of COVID-19. The Library System appreciates the support of our community members during this time.

In order to continue to provide superior library services to customers who chose to remain at home, there are many resources that are available digitally:

“We are investing additional funds immediately to purchase more e-book and e-audio materials,” said Director of Operations Lynn Hoffman. “If you haven’t tried our e-books before, our expert staff can walk you through the process so that you can explore from the comfort of home. Call (908) 458.8400 to be connected with your favorite branch.”

Any questions or concerns about these temporary changes should be directed to Auger via email at bauger@sclibnj.org or phone (908) 458.8401.

FAQ

Wait until your items are due before you bring them back! This will help us safely manage the over 100,000 returns that will be coming back over the next several weeks.

Once we reopen, you will be able to come in and pickup your available holds. 

We are filling holds again, based on the existing queues. You shouldn’t lose your place in line.

Please don’t use them yet! To handle all of our returns, each branch will have a process and location set up for receiving them. Look for more information at our branches.

Download the Libby app (by Overdrive):

Get it on Google Play  Download on the App Store

Log in with your SCLSNJ library card number and PIN.

  • Need a library card? Apply here.
  • What’s your PIN? It’s usually the last four digits of your phone number. If you get stuck, email us at ask@sclibnj.org.

Cultural Adventure Passes will continue to be unavailable until more of our partner museums and attractions are ready to reopen.

If your library card has an expiration date between November 1, 2019 and August 30, 2020, we will be automatically extending access to your card until August 31, 2020 so that you can get uninterrupted access to our virtual services. Otherwise, email us at ask@sclibnj.org with your library card number and we’ll see what we can do.

Connect with SCLSNJ through social networks: