Avalon Library & History Center Plan for Reopening

Phase 1 – Library and History Center Closed by Executive Order

Effective March 17 through June 14. Available services:

  • Digital Library for eBooks, audio, streaming, news and more (Visit Borrow on the website.)
  • Remote Programs (More information on the website calendar.)
  • Remote Help Tools & Appointments (Email or visit Help on the website for an appointment.)
  • Exterior Wi-Fi at the Library (Our unsecured Wi-Fi is available on the porch and in the parking lot.)

Phase 2 – Library and History Center staff permitted on-site to prepare for resuming services.

June 15 - June 21. During this brief phase, staff will return to the facilities to prepare for new on-site services and address building needs for working during COVID-19.

Phase 3 – Library open for Porch Pick Up.

Monday, June 22- Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Patrons will not be able to enter the Library or History Center during Phase 3.

In addition to the services available in Phase 1, patrons will now have access to:

  • Porch Pick Up for borrowing materials, via scheduled time slots.
  • Returning materials via Library book drops.
  • No-contact History Center donations

Please take note of the following details:

  • Library staff are wearing masks and following recommended hygiene and social distancing practices.
  • Library materials and museum donations will be quarantined for 96 hours before being checked in.
  • Accrual and collection of fines and fees has been suspended through August 31, 2020.
  • The Library is not accepting book or item donations at this time.
  • Library by Mail is suspended. We will make an announcement when we resume this service.

When on-site for Porch Pick Up, Wi-Fi, or History Center donations, social distancing and the use of a face mask is required.

Phase 4 – Library and History Center open to the public with capacity restrictions.

The Library and History Center reopens to the public with limited services on July 16, 2020.

In addition to the services available in Phase 3 (see above), patrons may now also:

  • Enter the Library and History Center in accordance with current capacity guidelines to:
    • Briefly browse the library collection or a museum exhibit following traffic flow and social distancing markings and signage.
    • Reserve and use a public library computer for a shortened session (when availability permits).
    • Access the scan/fax station and public copier.
    • Patrons must wear a mask when using the Library and History Center unless the patron has a medical reason for not doing so or is a child under two years of age.
    • If a patron is exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 they may not enter the Library or History Center.
    • Patrons must maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from staff and other patrons at all time.
    • Length of visit may be limited to support social distancing and access.
  • Staff members will work on a rotating schedule to act as greeters to answer patron questions and manage patron occupancy with support from an occupancy management tool.
  • Access to the Children’s Room will be restricted to browsing for materials in adherence with social distancing guidelines. No computers or toys available in the Children’s Room.
  • Individuals under the age of 12 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
  • No onsite tech help appointments will be available. Virtual appointments can be scheduled.
  • Public seating and meeting rooms will not be available. Patrons are not permitted to sit in the library on any surface, except in an emergency or for an accessibility accommodation.
  • Patrons are not to reshelve any materials.  There will be book carts throughout the library for patrons to place the materials that have been handled. Staff will transfer these items to materials quarantine while wearing gloves.
  • Programs will be virtual. Visit the web calendar for more details.
  • All high touch areas will be cleaned during the day as per established practices and schedule.
  • All restrooms will be individual (family) use.
  • Newspaper subscriptions have been suspended.

Additional phases and services will be shared as more details become available. Thank you for your patience and support during this time.


1. Do you offer contactless pick-up of library materials?

Yes. Contactless pick-up of library materials is available by appointment. Details can be found here.

2. How do I search the catalog for items I want to request?

You can search for items directly from the library homepage. Click the "Home" tab in the upper-left corner of this page, then enter your search terms in the text box at the top right-hand side of the screen.

Watch this video for instruction on how to access the catalog, search for items and place holds.

3. Can I request the Library purchase a title?

We are happy to consider purchasing your recommendations! Fill out our Select a Purchase form with the details of the item you would like us to add to our collection.

4. Are you offering Library by Mail at this time?

Library by Mail will resume on January 4th, 2021 for Avalon property owners. Sign up for our email notifications to stay informed on this and other topics. 

5. Will I be fined for late items?

The accrual and collection of fines and fees has been temporarily suspended. Lost or damaged items will still be billed.

6. Can I still use your Interlibrary Loan service?

Interlibrary Loan service is provided through the State Library and has been resumed as of October 1, 2020.   


1. What changes have the Library and History Center made in response to COVID-19?

  • Limiting the amount of staff in the building at the same time
  • Limiting the number of patrons permitted in the building at the same time
  • Limiting the amount of time patrons can spend in the building
  • Requiring the use of face masks by all persons inside the building
  • Staff workstations have been properly distanced
  • Sanitizing communal surface areas on a regular schedule
  • Wearing gloves and masks, frequent hand-washing and making hand-sanitizer available
  • Offering contactless pickup of library items via Porch Pickup service
  • Offering remote programs in lieu of live programs where many people gather
  • Promoting use of our Digital Library for electronic books, audiobooks, movies, newspapers and magazines
  • Quarantining all returned materials for 8 days
  • Quarantining all History Center donations for 72 hours

2. How is the Library making decisions about when to open and what types of services to offer?

We are following NJ-mandated rules and recommendations for phased opening. These inform our decisions about how to manage in-person services, such as material checkout, program offerings and one-on-one patron assistance.

3. What is the best way to stay updated on changes in library service?

Subscribe to our email newsletter or check our homepage and social media pages frequently for messages.

4. Where can I get current information about COVID-19?

o    CMC Health Department: https://capemaycountynj.gov/226/Health-Department 
o    NJ Department of Health: https://www.nj.gov/health/ 
o    CDC, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html 


1. Do you have ebooks and audiobooks available to borrow?

We offer ebooks and audiobooks on two platforms: Overdrive with an app named Libby, and Hoopla Digital.

2. Do you offer streaming movies?

We offer two platforms for streaming video: Hoopla Digital has films and TV episodes. Kanopy has independent films, foreign films and documentaries. 

3. Do you offer streaming music?

We offer streaming music through Hoopla Digital.

4. Do you offer access to online newspapers and magazines?

We offer PressReader for browsers and via the app. PressReader has hundreds of US newspapers, such as The Philadelphia Inquirer, and magazine titles and thousands of international titles. We also offer online access to The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. All of these can be found on our Digital Library page here.


Are you accepting item donations?

Unfortunately, we are unable to accept items for donation at this time. 


I have a question not covered here. How do I get help?

Please use our help form or call (609) 967-7155 


1. Can I still get a library card if I can't come into the building?

Online cards are available for Avalon, NJ property owners and Cape May County, NJ residents who are 18 years of age or older. 
     1. Fill out this form to have a library card created for you or to retrieve your existing library card number.
     2. We will email you with a library barcode within 24 hours of your request. 
     NOTE: You will be required to prove identity and address the first time you come to the library to check out physical materials when we are open to the public. 

2. I don't have my library card number. How can I get it?

The fastest way to retrieve your existing library card number is to fill out this form and we will email your card number within 1-2 business days.

3. My library card appears to have expired. How can I renew?

Library cards expire every two years. This allows us to review your information with you to be sure that what we have is up-to-date. You can renew your card by filling out this form or calling us at 609-967-7155.


1. Are programs and events still scheduled?

All current Library and History Center programs are virtual. Please join us online. Check out our calendar of events for more information on programs and how to register. 

2. How do I use Zoom to attend Library programs?

Please view our video instructions for how to attend a Zoom program. If you have questions, please reach out to our programming department at programs@avalonfreelibrary.org.


1. Can I still access Library Wi-Fi?

The Library's unsecured public Wi-Fi is available 24/7 from the parking lot and from the exterior front porch, optimized for proper social distancing.

2. Can you help me with my computer or device?

The Library prefers to offer tech help over the phone and strongly recommends calling us at 609-967-7155 or emailing us at library@avalonfreelibrary.org to see if your question can be answered remotely before coming in. A staff member may not be on hand to assist you as a drop-in and you may be asked to call at a later time.


In limited instances we may be able to help in person: 

  • If you need basic help using Library online resources and are able to communicate through a partition with an available staff member.
  • If a staff member is able to help without handling your device.
  • If a tech help staff member is available. If no one is available you will be encouraged to call the Library at a later time.

We cannot help at this time with in-depth issues requiring more than 15 minutes. You may call our Digital Outreach Coordinator at 609-967-5900 x3153 to schedule a phone or online appointment or register for one of our Open Forum Tech Zoom sessions. 

3. Can I scan, fax, email or make copies?

  • Two public PCs are available for 15-minute PC sessions. Once your session expires you must leave the area but may return later in the day for another 15-minute session, if needed. If help is needed on the PC it is recommended that you return with a family member or friend who can assist you.
  • Faxing is available from our scanning station, which scans to email and to a flash drive.
  • Photocopying is currently available from the inside area of our front porch

Patrons may only be in the building for 20 minutes at a time to limit potential COVID-19 exposure and help can only be provided from a safe distance and in some cases may not be available.