City Librarian Community Message

May 11, 2020

Dear Friends,

At close of day today, Decatur Public Library (DPL) will have been closed for eight (8) full weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

I’d like to let all of our library users know what our employees have been doing over the past 8 weeks and what we plan to do in the future. The highlights of the past 8 weeks are:

  • In order to meet increased demand for things for individuals and families to do at home during confinement, staff members have been exploring and acquiring additional digital content. New temporary resources include Cloud Library e-books, Infobase database, and Medici TV streaming classical music. We hope to add additional Spanish language e-book titles soon. Staff has also curated our e-book collections for easier access by topics. DPL doubled the amount of reads/listens/views available to cardholders on Hoopla and Kanopy.
  • In that same light, we have worked to make programs freely available online:
  • To help new DPL users, we have streamlined the process to provide e-cards to patrons who might otherwise not have access to electronic library materials at this time. Most applicants are approved the same day. Apply for an e-card here.
  • DPL librarians continue to field your reference questions as the need did not stop with the pandemic. Email the library at, message us via Facebook Messenger, or call M - F 217-424-2900 during regular business hours. (If we don't have someone there to answer, select option 8 to leave a message, and we'll get back to you as soon as possible.)
  • DPL has installed all-new computers for public use when the library re-opens, so that patrons will have the latest operating system.
  • Confused about where to turn for COVID resources? DPL has created a page gathering resources for patrons during the pandemic.
  • In response to the changing job market, DPL is providing a basic computer literacy training page for those wishing to develop new, marketable job skills.
  • For those who think our predicament is unprecedented, Local History has developed some interesting online displays including resources about the last (1918) pandemic in the USA and Decatur’s response.
  • Our databases are being cleaned up which will make library access easier and more accurate.
  • For the safety and protection of all once we reopen, Civic Center staff have cleaned and disinfected the building top to bottom.
  • A small number of employees come into the building to check in and shelve returned materials.
  • Continuing Education — Staff members have now participated in hundreds of hours of continuing education, some of it about the pandemic and how to respond and much more about current trends in library service and how to be even better once we open the doors.
  • Library leadership is planning for the post-pandemic library future.
  • We are planning to implement a digital option for Summer Reading so our patrons can track their reading from anywhere.

In short, Decatur Public Library has been OPEN for business remotely—just not physically.

So, what is next for DPL and the thousands of DPL users?

DPL leadership is developing a phased reopening plan for the library. While many things (including dates) are to be determined, the next step will undoubtedly be some form of curbside service to patrons. As soon as the how and when of curbside service are determined, we will be reaching out to you again with instructions.

Please keep in mind that phased re-opening of the library will only occur when DPL administration and Board of Trustees, in conjunction with City of Decatur and Macon County Health officials, deem it safe to do so. The health of DPL users and staff will take precedence in all cases.

Thank you for remaining loyal DPL users—


Rick Meyer

City Librarian

Decatur Public Library