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Greenburgh Public Library Blog

Change and Renewals

by Laura Burk on 2022-03-22T10:00:00-04:00 | 0 Comments

For the past two years, mitigating the effects and spread of COVID has made everything more complex, adding extra layers of logistics to many of our daily tasks. Wipe down the mail before you open it. Remember to take a mask, and in the early days, gloves when you leave the house. Visit three different stores and four pharmacies to find toilet paper and hand sanitizer.

At Greenburgh Library, we decided early on that the library should not be another pain point when things were already difficult for everyone, so we made some changes to improve the library user experience and streamline the staff workflow:

  • We kept our book drops open.
  • We extended due dates repeatedly. 
  • We renewed library cards over the phone instead of requiring an in-person visit. 
  • We quarantined returns for as long as four days at times.
  • We used Amnesty Mode to check in returns, wiping out any overdue fines as soon as items were returned. 
  • We offered curbside pickup and book bundles for children and adults.
  • We also made our checkouts fine-free, so patrons who returned items to other libraries would not accumulate fines.

What we experienced may seem surprising: almost everyone still brought back their books and DVDs on time, or even before the due date. Most people want a new book when they finish the old one. Once parents have worked their way through that picture book four times every day for nine days running, they want a new story. 


By the fall of 2021, it was clear to us that officially getting rid of overdue fines was a feasible plan, and the Library Board of Trustees agreed. At the same time, we decided to streamline circulation even further by enabling automatic renewals. This means that when you borrow an eligible item* from Greenburgh Library, at the end of the loan period, the system will automatically attempt to renew it. You still only get one renewal, but now you don’t really have to think about it. Ask a staff member to enable your account with an email address and you’ll get updates and reminders about your due dates. (The email notifications system is MUCH better than the phone system in general.)


Now that we are returning to more normal routines, we’re not quarantining returns or extending due dates indefinitely anymore. But we have kept many of the new procedures that improved your library user experience.

Renewing your card
Call Circulation at (914) 721-8204 and verify some contact information and we will renew your card by phone.

The system will attempt to auto-renew all eligible items checked out from Greenburgh. (Not technology, Express books or DVDs, magazines, or other things that are not usually renewable). Some reserved items that come from other libraries will not renew automatically, but you can check your account online or see staff to set up email notifications.

Fine-free Checkout
Books, magazines, DVDs, and CDs checked out from Greenburgh Library will NOT accrue fines, no matter where they are returned.

Fine-Free Check-in
Items returned to Greenburgh are checked in using Amnesty Mode, no matter where they were checked out, so if there are fines, they will be cleared.

Curbside Pickup
We still offer this convenient service. You can call the Circulation Desk (721-8204) from the circle, and we'll bring your holds out. 

Book Bundles
You can request a librarian-curated selection of titles for adults and for children.

**NEW** Higher Checkout Limit
The maximum number of checkouts has been raised from 50 to 75.

These new rules don’t mean you can take things home and keep them forever.
Library materials are for the whole community, and someone else might be waiting for a turn,

*Some items are still subject to overdue fines. These items are in high demand or are particularly time-sensitive:

And ALL items are assumed LOST 30 days after the due date and you will be billed. You can still clear the bill by returning the item.

And remember, digital loans are ALWAYS fine free!!


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