What the world really needs is more drive-thru coronavirus testing sites and, while those may be few and far between, the High Point Public Library is hoping that a new service will at least help make life better for book lovers while the pandemic persists.

On Friday, April 24, the City of High Point announced that the High Point Public Library will begin offering limited checkout and return services using the building’s drive-through window and the book drops.

Starting at 9 a.m. on Monday, April 27, library customers can return all checked-out materials to the building’s exterior book drops – and, starting on Monday, May 4, customers can also put materials on hold in advance and then pick them up at the drive-thru window when those materials are available.

The library building, which was closed to the public earlier this year as part of the city’s response to the pandemic, will remain closed to users. However, the book drops will be open for returns 24 hours a day, and the drive-through checkout services will be available from Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.

It should be noted that the library’s satellite service locations at Deep River Recreation Center and at the High Point Parks and Recreation office on Northpoint Avenue will remain closed.

As with every other activity or bit of commerce these days, there are safety precautions that are going into effect to limit the possibility of exposing staff and customers to COVID-19. Here are some of those changes:

  • All overdue fines will continue to be waived, and customers won’t incur any penalties at this time for not returning materials. Any customers who’ve been exposed to COVID-19 – or, in fact, who are experiencing symptoms of any illness – are asked to keep their materials until they’ve been asymptomatic for more than 14 days.
  • All returned materials will be stored in containers at the library for 72 hours before being checked-in by staff.
  • Only three entrances to the library’s parking lot will be open: the two entrances from North Elm Street and the farther north entrance from North Main Street (near Krispy Kreme). The entrance from North Main Street that’s closest to the library building will be closed.

To use the library’s limited checkout services, customers can place materials on hold beginning on May 4 by using the library’s online catalog (http://hppl.tlcdelivers.com:8080/), or by calling library staff at 336-883-3660. (Holds can’t be placed in-person using the drive-thru, and materials will not be available for pick up until the customer has received a notification from the library’s automated system.)

The High Point Public Library continues to offer digital ebooks and e-audiobooks while providing assistance through email and social media.

The staff at the library have been keeping busy during the crisis. In addition to issuing new library cards, staff has produced digital story times, family yoga classes and even a choose-an-adventure puzzle game. The library’s team has also distributed coronavirus fact sheets in 14 languages, and has put together entertainment and educational resource guides and implemented an urban hikes challenge.

Currently, according to library officials, over 14,000 books and other physical items are checked out to library customers.