Much has changed with Madison Public Library and Madison Public Library Foundation in the wake of COVID-19. Here are some quick answers to questions you may have about operations as of early June. You can get the most current information by visiting and

How do I get in touch with foundation staff?

Please email or call 608.266.6318. Foundation staff are working from home and checking messages regularly.

Was Lunch for Libraries rescheduled?

Yes, it was moved to June 18 and will be an online program with Mark Bittman. Read more about it on the Events & Highlights page of this newsletter. 

Are the libraries still closed?

Yes, the libraries have been closed to the public since March 17 but are beginning to offer services outside their buildings, like curbside pickup and returns. Buildings will remain closed until they can safely reopen, and the library is planning for that opening in consultation with Public Health Madison & Dane County.

What kinds of services are available to me at home?

Library @ Home is a web page that’s easy to find on It includes links to eBooks, audiobooks, online databases, newspapers, magazines, language apps, an ancestry research program and more.

The library offers centralized telephone service daily from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. to answer your questions and to help community members obtain free or low-cost internet access. Library staff can help with questions about your library card, online collection access, eBooks and downloadable audiobooks, social services referrals, reference, homework and more. Staff can also place holds on library materials for you. Call 608.315.5151.

 The library also offers curbside service. Simply call the reference line or place holds online via LINKcat, and call the library from which you’re checking out items to schedule a pickup time.

I’ve been holding on to a stack of materials since March. Can I return them? 

Yes! The library is offering 24/7 book return service at Central Library‘s Fairchild Street entrance and curbside pickup returns at all other libraries from 11 a.m.–7 p.m. Monday–Friday and noon–5 p.m. Saturday. Library materials are quarantined for 72 hours so will not be checked in right away. Due dates for all materials have been extended to August 1.

How are you keeping staff safe?

Staff who are working in the libraries are provided with masks and are instructed to follow social distancing procedures. Foundation staff are working from their homes.

When will the libraries reopen? 

Using the new Forward Dane plan as a guide, the library is continuing to plan and prepare our library buildings for when we will be able to reopen our doors. Your safety and that of our staff remains our top priority. To maintain a level of safety, we will first focus on providing computer and Wi-Fi access once we are able to open our buildings in a limited capacity. We will be modifying our spaces to accommodate for social distancing, and each of our libraries will vary as to how many patrons can be scheduled to use our public workstations.

When delivery services are restored, we will be able to provide materials from other libraries through that service.