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Library Closed





Due to a staff member testing positive for COVID-19, the library is closed until at least Monday, December 14.  The Facebook book sale scheduled for Dec. 8 is cancelled.

Curbside pickup will be available this week while the library is shut down. We recommend placing holds online if possible, although you can also call us between 8:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. You can pick up books between 9:00 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday this week. Drive down the alley behind the library and call the library (362-3262) to let us know you are here. We will be operating with only one person at a time, so please be patient! The book drop will stay open.

Library now has hotspots to check out!

We’re pleased to announce a new service at Iola Public Library:  circulating Internet hotspots.  The hotspots bring an Internet connection to your home or other location and allow your computers or devices to connect to it via wi-fi.

Funding for the hotspots comes from a Broadband Partnership Adoption Grant through the Kansas Department of Commerce using CARES Act, or federal coronavirus relief, funds.

There are currently five hotspots available to check out. Later this month, an additional ten “smart hotspots” should be available.  T-Mobile/Sprint is the carrier.

The regular hotspots are suitable for those who have smartphones, computers, tablets or other devices with wi-fi capability.  Those who have no computers or other devices can check out the smart hotspots, since besides bringing the Internet connection, they are themselves a device which can be used.

Besides bringing the Internet to households which don’t have access, the hotspots will also benefit the family with multiple people staying at home trying to either attend class or work from home.  Their Internet connection may be suitable for one or two people, but if you have two or three children as well as one or more adults all trying to use the Internet, your service may be inadequate to support that.  The additional connection provided by the hotspot will be valuable.  In addition, the smart hotspots can be of benefit if you have fewer devices than people needing to use them.

The hotspots check out for two weeks to any registered patron in good standing.  They can be renewed multiple times if there are no holds on the device.  Overdue charges will be $1 per day, and Internet service will be turned off for any devices which are a week overdue.

If you check out a hotspot, please keep it in a temperature-controlled environment—for instance, don’t leave it in your vehicle.  And we ask that you don’t return the hotspots in the book drop, but instead bring them inside and return them at the circulation desk in the library.

Facebook Live Book Sale!


Yes, we will have a book sale this year! No, it won’t be a traditional sale. We will actually have two sales on Facebook Live.

You do not have to have a Facebook account to see it or participate. Go to and click on the Facebook Live post.

Books will be sold for $5 per lot. So for example, we will announce “This is Lot #7. These are mysteries” and then read the titles and authors while showing the books. To buy the bundle, you would type in chat “Sold Lot #7” If you don’t have a Facebook account, please also give your name. Then you will come to the library in the week following the sale to pick up your books and pay.

We’ll have many different types of books for sale, and each lot will be similar books. There will be one or more lots for westerns, large print, history, cookbooks, thrillers, children’s books, young adult books, and just general fiction. Some will be a lot of books all by the same author, like James Patterson or Mary Higgins Clark.

The sales are on Thursday, October 20 and Tuesday, October 27. Both nights we will begin at 7:00 p.m.

Join Us for Golden Rule Days program


James Kenyon will present “Golden Rule Days” for the library on Thursday, Sept. 17 at 7:00 p.m.  Kenyon is the author of the book of the same name about 109 closed Kansas high schools.  Included in the book are LaHarpe and Kincaid High Schools.

(You may want to go to this link ahead of the program to make sure everything is working OK).  Hope you can join us!

Phase 2 of library reopening

On June 2 we will move into Phase 2 of the library reopening.  You will be able to come into the library again.  Yay!  We’re looking forward to seeing you.

Here is what you need to know about Phase 2.

Our hours remain the same as Phase 1:

Mondays, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Tuesdays through Fridays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

That’s 40 hours per week, compared to our normal 52 hours during the summer (and 58 hours during the majority of the year).

Masks,  social distancing, time in library
Masks are required inside the building; we will provide curbside service for those who don’t want to wear a mask.

Social distancing should be observed. Please stay 6 feet away from other people as much as possible.  We ask that there only be one person down an aisle at a time, as well as in new materials areas.  Our new materials normally are grouped in one area.  To allow more browsers while keeping social distancing in place, the new fiction is all that remains in that area.  The new nonfiction and large print will be on the oval displayer; the audio books will be on a table, and the DVDs on a separate table.

All tables remain in place, but many chairs have been removed.

We also ask, to minimize the numbers of people in the library at one time, that you come in, conduct your business as quickly as possible, and leave. Try to limit visits to 30 minutes. “Your business” can mean browsing and checking out materials, using a computer, making photocopies, applying for a passport, reading current magazines and newspapers, etc.

Checking out
We can accommodate two people checking out at a time.  For those occasions when there are more than that waiting to check out, we have signage and markers indicating where to wait.

So that you don’t have to let someone else handle the books you’ve selected, we will ask you to scan the barcodes.  We’ll tell you when we’re ready for that.

Curbside service
We will continue to offer curbside service for those who prefer not to come into the building or who don’t want to wear a mask.  Curbside pickup can be arranged during any of the hours we are open.  Drive down the alley, stop beside the book drop, and give us a call.  Be aware that depending on how busy we are in the library, you might have to wait a few minutes.

To maintain social distancing, fewer computers are available than usual.  We will have disposable covers on keyboards which we change between users, and will disinfect mice between users as well.  There will be no renewals of time on the computers, and depending on usage we may have to shorten the time limit.

While usually computer use is first-come, first-served, during Phase 2 we will take reservations to use computers for specific purposes. These purposes are:

  • Applying for a job
  • E-government purposes.  This includes applying for unemployment, filing income taxes, filling out the census questionnaire, etc.
  • Homework, if currently enrolled in school or college class
  • Taking tests or practice tests needed for such purposes as job applications, certifications, etc.

Only one person is allowed per computer, and staff assistance will not be available.

Safety of materials
Viruses do not transmit on paper, according to information supplied by the CDC.  However, there is a chance they can transmit from plastic, and most of our books have mylar covers.  When you return books, we will quarantine them for 3 days.  However, be aware that our staff will touch them when re-shelving, and other library users may have touched them while browsing as well.  To be safe, you may wish to wash your hands after handling them and put them aside for 3 days before reading or viewing them when you get home.

We have all the magazines out of the plastic binders we usually put them in.

Restrooms are closed during Phase 2 except for emergencies.

Programs/Summer reading
No face-to-face programs will be offered during Phase 2.  There will continue to be story times and other programs offered virtually. Check the library’s virtual programming page on Facebook.

We will offer a summer reading program, but it will be a little different.  The preferred way to register and to track your reading is online using Reader Zone.  We will have a paper option for those who prefer that.  Reader Zone offers badges upon completion.  We will have Brag Tags for prizes, as well as prize drawings throughout the summer programs.  We will also offer activity bags during the summer programs which will tie in with our virtual programs.

Passport applications
We will resume accepting passport applications, but only by appointment.

Looking forward to Phase 3 and Phase 4
As with every phase of our re-opening plan, we do not set dates for them.  Instead, we define indications which will determine when it’s time to enter the next phase.  For Phase 3, it will require that Kansas COVID-19 cases be at a low level (near zero).

In Phase 3, we will resume normal hours and will ease some restrictions.

Phase 4 will come when there is widespread vaccination or other developments which nearly eliminate the COVID-19 threat.  Phase 4 is a full return to normal.  It’s likely to be a year before this occurs.



Phase 1 of library reopening

We have developed a plan for a phased reopening of the library after much work and thought about how to proceed, based on a variety of webinars and online state or national meetings on the subject.  These plans were developed before Governor Kelly laid out her phases, so please note that although the library’s plan and the governor’s plan coincidentally both have four phases, the phases are not related.

Please keep in mind that for now, we can only supply materials from our library, not borrowed from another library.  Courier service may resume later this month, but even when it does it may be spotty about which libraries are open and able to fill interlibrary loan requests.

We are now in Phase 1.  The library doors remain closed, but we will are offering curbside service.  For details about that, see the post further down this page.  Beyond curbside service, staff will be available by telephone to help, and the book drop is open.  Story times will continue weekly on Zoom, and there may be other virtual programs as well.

There is no set date for moving into Phase 2.  Several things will control when that happens.   One is a sustained decline in state COVID-19 cases or deaths.  We also need to complete preparations for the next phase, which includes making sure we have an adequate supply of cleaning and other supplies, having barriers (sneezeguards) installed at the circulation desk, and making some changes in how some areas are laid out.

We’ll have more information on Phase 2 when we are ready to move into that phase, but it will include continuing curbside delivery while also allowing people into the building if they are wearing masks.  We will have some computers available as well.

You can call us during these hours:

Monday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Saturday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.