Skip to main content

Mon-Thu 9-9

Fri 9-6

Sat 9-5

Sun 1-5

Sun Closed

Library News

Behind The Scenes

by Jill Mercurio on 2020-06-30T11:34:00-04:00 | Comments

Thank you for your patience as we catch up with the volume of requests, returns, and new materials that accumulated during our closure.

Newton Free Library is prioritizing the health and safety of our patrons and staff as we take a phased reopening approach for library services. Restoring services at such a large and active public library takes careful planning and coordination.

We created this behind-the-scenes "scrapbook" to share what it takes to begin to bring library services back at one of the biggest libraries in the state!



In March, Minuteman Library Network changed due dates to June 30th to give more time to return library materials. This past weekend many of you received an automated email announcing that items were due and - wow - what a response!

We received more than 12,000 returns so far!

We regularly check and change the drop box throughout the day, but the mind-boggling volume of returns surpassed expectations! When the box became overloaded, many materials were regretfully left outside in the elements. We are happy to report all the items left outside were rescued before the rainstorm!


Please note there are no fines accruing at this time. If you need more time with your items, please renew online or call us at 617-796-1360.





More than 4,200 items are on our hold shelves waiting for pickup through our Library To-Go! contactless service.


This is the largest number we’ve ever had ready for pickup at one time, and it's also greater than any other Minuteman Library has had.


Our holds area was too small to accommodate this volume, so we relocated these items to the Atrium to ensure safe physical distancing for staff to access and package your holds.







Over 4,000 holds were recently placed in our system and we are working as quickly as possible to fulfill these requests. 

This list is 80% larger than any typical request list prior to our Covid-19 closure.














The statewide delivery system is slowly restarting. More than 350 bins of materials returned to Newton but owned by other libraries have been sent back.

We expect continued delays as many Minuteman libraries are still closed.









Looking for that brand new bestseller? We're unpacking new materials daily that were ordered just before, or during, our closure. These new items are quickly being prepared for eager borrowers.










Hundreds of library items are returned daily to our drop box. These items are being collected in dated bins that the Library is quarantining for 72-hours before they are checked in and readied for the next borrower.



Due to this process, returned items will not be immediately reflected on your account. 







The unprecedented volume created by the Covid-19 closure is a particularly unique challenge to manage without our full complement of staff able to report each day due to occupancy limits and physical distancing measures.

We can't wait until it's safe to have our full staff, (including our invaluable part-time colleagues), back working under the library roof at the same time! Until then, we hope this "behind the scenes" glimpse of the library helps better illustrate why fulfilling holds, making appointment slots available, and checking in your returns takes a little more time during this unusual period. 

Thank you for being wonderful library supporters; we look forward to seeing you at your next Library To-Go! Appointment.




 Add a Comment



Enter your e-mail address to receive notifications of new posts by e-mail.


  Return to Blog
This post is closed for further discussion.