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Valley Cottage Library Reopening FAQ

What are your hours?

Monday – Thursday 12pm-6pm

Friday 12-5pm

Saturday 10am-2pm.

What safety precautions are being taken by the Library?

When you come to the library you will notice things look a little bit different. All individuals anywhere on library property - inside or outside - are required to wear a mask. Face coverings worn over the nose and mouth are required for all in-person visits as well as curbside pickups. Masks with valves, neck gaitors and knitted masks are not allowed. Face shields without masks are not permitted. Children under the age of two are the only persons not required to wear a face covering.

Staff members are screened prior to arriving at work and have been trained to recognize the symptoms of COVID-19 and in delivering high-quality library service to our community in a safe manner. All staff members will be wearing masks and some, in addition, may be wearing face shields.

To the greatest degree possible, the ventilation has been improved and fresh air rate has been increased. All air handlers have been refitted with MERV 13 filters. Our service desks have been fitted with Plexiglas to allow for safer library transactions.

A temporary code of conduct for our patrons will be prominently posted requiring the use of masks and social distancing as well as the restriction of any individual to enter the building who is sick or recently exposed to COVID-19.


Can I come in the building?

On September 14th we began allowing a limited number of patrons into the building by appointment only. We expect these opportunities to expand as we fine-tune our procedures operating under these new conditions. All of these appointment types are limited to 20-minute durations.

How do I make an appointment to access the building?

Our appointments for in-building access will be broken down into three different categories based on your needs. These appointments can be scheduled here. All in-building appointments will be limited to 20 minutes.

What types of Express In-building Services are available?

The three appointment types will be Express Browsing, Express Internet and Children’s Room Appointments. Each 20-minute window will allow 2 patrons for Express Browsing, 2 patrons for Express Internet and one household (up to 6 members) for Children’s Room Browsing appointments.

Can you tell me more about the Express In-building Appointments?


Express Browsing appointments will allow users into the adult area to browse our new books, older fiction and non-fiction, large print, Spanish collection, DVDs, audiobooks, magazines, newspapers, video games, music CDs and the Teen Collection.

Express Internet appointments will allow patrons to use the Internet for 20 minutes. Guest passes are available to patrons without library cards. Printing is available. No time extensions are permitted.
Staff assistance at the Internet will be mediated through software to allow for social distancing. If you need computer assistance, please let the librarian at the Information Desk know. To maintain social distancing, librarians will be assisting you through remote desktop software built into Windows 10 called "Quick Assist." More information on using Quick Assist is available here.

Children’s Room appointments will allow up to six members of the same household to browse the children’s room for up to 20 minutes. No other patrons will be in this space at the same time allowing families with young children a safe opportunity to browse. Children's Room appointment visitors may book an Adult Browsing appointment for the same time slot if available although Staff are always happy to assist in retrieving materials from outside the Children's Room by request. No Internet computers are available in the Children’s Room at this time.

For all types of appointments, a general overhead announcement will be made to indicate the end of your visit to begin the checkout of your materials and exit the building.

What if I am late for my appointment?

Appointments will begin and end as scheduled to prevent any backups in our in-building attendance. If you arrive late, you may enter for the balance of time available in your appointment. If your appointment expires prior to accomplishing all of your library needs, please speak to staff and we will do our best to accommodate your needs through curbside pickup once you are outside.

What accommodation is available for teens to visit the Library?

Teens should use the Express Browse appointments to browse in the Teen and Adult areas.

How many other people will be inside the building?

If all of the appointments are full, up to 10 patrons may be in the building at one time in addition to the library staff. Staffing varies based on day and time but will be limited in each area.


Can I sit down?

No. Seating will be removed from the library. As the best outcome for contagion is based on the number of people and longevity of exposure, all patrons are encouraged to make their visits as brief and quick as possible. To this end, there will be no seating.

Can I use the bathroom?

Yes, the public bathrooms will be accessible. To comply with social distancing requirements, these bathrooms will be single occupancy use only. Please knock before entering and wait to enter until the room is vacant.

Can I still access materials and services through curbside?
Yes, our curbside service will remain in effect in exactly the same manner.

If the appointment after mine is available, can I stay longer?

No. If you are unable to fill all of your library needs within the 20-minute window, staff will be happy to assist you further through our curbside appointments. 


However, you may book up to three in-building appointment types per week. As with all services, the objective is to continue to expand access and services over time.



How does it work?

It’s easy! You can call (845-268-7700), or email ( our library staff to help select titles for your needs, or you can browse and place holds on titles through our library catalog via our website or the RCLS Gateway app. Schedule an appointment through our simple software or have staff assist in scheduling a pick-up appointment. Your materials will be ready and waiting for you. Call us from the parking lot when you arrive and we will check out the materials and bring them to a table placed at our front doors.

How do I schedule an appointment?

Schedule your appointment here or ask our staff to schedule for you!

What happens if I miss my appointment?

We know that scheduling an appointment to visit the library may seem unusual but we are working to make sure we can deliver the safest experience for both our staff and our community. If you miss the appointment, please call the library at (845) 268-7700 and we will give you instructions on how to obtain your materials.

Do I need an appointment? Can I just walk-up and ask for a book?

Appointments help us make sure that everyone stays safe when retrieving their library materials. If you happen to find yourself in our parking lot without an appointment, call us and we will help you figure out the best way to access your materials.

What happens if I don’t have my library card? Left it in my summer house? My shuttered office? Etc.

If you don’t have your library card readily available, you can use your driver’s license or, alternately, you

can present your card via the RCLS Gateway App.

If you’ve lost your card or never had one, Valley Cottage residents can apply for a new card via our website.

If you’re still not sure, call us. Your call will make our day!


Do I owe any fines?

No. As we begin our reopening, safety is our primary goal. For this reason, fines for overdue material will temporarily be suspended as part of our contactless service. Fines may be reinstated as the opening services expand but for now we ask you to please enjoy our fine-free service. Please try to honor the return dates so others may also have access to the materials. Of course if you have lost your book, or it has been enjoyed by your dog, we will be collecting replacement and damage fees. Give us a call.

Is there a limit on the number of books, DVDs, etc I can get through curbside pickup?

If you can carry them, you can borrow them. But if you really want to know, the limit is 50 items with some limits within types of collections.

Can I still borrow a board game? Lawn game? Cake pan? Museum pass?

Yes! We would love it if you want to borrow from our special collections. However, since we are asking all material to be returned through the book drop, special arrangements will have to be made for the return of these items. Call us!

How am I being protected while using shared library materials?

The Valley Cottage Library is taking many steps to help protect our community from the spread of Covid-19. All materials are quarantined after they are returned. The duration of the quarantine is based on the latest available and proven scientific guidelines regarding the duration of the virus on surfaces and therefore, is subject to change. This means the returned items will be isolated while we allow ample time for the coronavirus to die from all surfaces including inner pages of books. When you receive a book it has been sitting without exposure to other borrowers for at least this long.

What if I don’t know what I want to read?
We’ve got you covered. Our librarians are trained experts on finding you exactly the right book. They will ask you some questions about the types of books you have enjoyed and recommend an array of titles for your consideration. Call or email us and we will be happy to match you with exactly the right book for you!


Librarians in each of our departments are in-house experts on our resources and have provided some online guidance for armchair browsing.

Our ADULT librarians recommend using the Novelist Plus database which features lots of sorting and filtering options to help you narrow your selection, or our own in-house guide to all our VCL’s adult reading lists we have been building over years. And a good website to view new releases each week is called New in Books. Still don’t know what you want? Fill out our VC Library recommendation form and let our expert Reader’s Advisors do the leg work for you! (Hint: that’s one of our favorite things to do.)


Our TEEN librarian along with a pretty amazing group of librarians within RCLS have built two impressive reading lists for teens and tweens.

The CHILDREN’s Staff is at the ready to recommend your next great bedtime read or ‘just right’ book for your beginning reader. Great online resources for kids and families for browsing includes Novelist K-8 and the Day by Day Family Literacy Calendar.

Can I make a photocopy/send a fax?

Photocopy and Fax services will be available both through curbside appointments and can also be self-mediated during the Express Browsing and Internet Appointments. The photocopier is accessible in the patron browsing area. The photocopier is not accessible during the Children’s Room Browsing Appointments; please ask staff for assistance.

CASH ONLY, please. No change will be given. Staff can also provide the option to bill your library card and you can pay online or at a later date.

Copier fees are 10¢ per page for b&w copies; 25¢ per page for color copies. Outgoing Fax prices are $1.00 first page, 50¢ per page thereafter. Incoming faxes are 50¢ per page.

Can I get a document notarized?

Notary Service at the Valley Cottage Library is suspended for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic.


As of September 16, 2020, the following locations are offering notary services. Call ahead as most services are subject to change at this time.

The Blauvelt Library is providing notary service outside

Nyack Library (845-358-3370)

UPS Store in Congers (845-267-0561) will perform notary service by appointment

M&T Bank in Nyack (845-358-9480)

Wells Fargo in Nyack (845 358-1400)

     Note: Chase Bank in Valley Cottage has suspended notary service.

The Rockland County Clerk is also providing notary service

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