Update 5/13/2020:

On May 13, 2020, Governor Reynold’s announced that many restrictions in Iowa’s remaining 77 counties would be lifted effective May 15, 2020, allowing libraries to open. In planning for re-opening, the Polk City Community Library’s staff and board of trustees, along with city leaders, have consulted with our colleagues around the state and taken guidance from experts at the State Library of Iowa, the American Library Association, and the Iowa Department of Public Health. The health and safety of our patrons and staff is our number one priority. 

Given the current statistics for Polk County and neighboring counties, we do not feel that we are in a position where we can safely welcome the public back into the library. Therefore, we have planned to re-open the Polk City Community Library in phases.

Phase 1 will not be a change from current operations. Until we can see an improvement in the statistics for Polk County, we will continue to serve our community through online reservations and curbside delivery only. 

Phase 2 will be implemented when we begin to see a marked improvement in the number of new cases of COVID-19 in Polk County. The library’s board of trustees and city administration will assist in making this decision. Phase 2 will allow patrons to reserve a time to come into the library to select materials or use a public computer. Select hours will be retained for high-risk patrons. Online reservations and curbside delivery will continue to be available. Staff who are interacting with patrons will be wearing masks and gloves. We STRONGLY encourage patrons to wear masks as well. Plexiglass barriers will shield staff and patrons from each other at the circulation desk. Some computers will be taken out of service to allow for social distancing. Time-limits for computer usage will be in effect. All toys will be put into storage. Seating areas will be unavailable. Our restrooms and drinking fountains will be closed to the public. There will be periodic “closures” throughout the day where no reservations are available to allow staff to disinfect high-traffic areas. There will not be any in-house programs or activities. Online programming will continue. Due dates will be reinstated. Fines will begin accruing two weeks after Phase 2 operations begin.

Phase 3 will be implemented when there are fewer restrictions on how many people can be in the facility. Again, the library’s board of trustees and city administration will assist in making this decision.  During Phase 3, patrons will be allowed to come to the library at their leisure to select materials and use public computers. Select hours will continue to be retained for high-risk patrons and online reservations with curbside pickup will continue to be available. 

Some computers will remain out of service to allow for social distancing. Time-limits for computer usage will continue to be in effect. We have not made a decision at this time as to whether or not toys and seating areas will be available. Limited restroom facilities will be available. In-house programming may resume, and if it does, patrons will be required to pre-register in order to maintain safe conditions. Programs will still be provided online for patrons who prefer to participate from home.

Our 2020 Summer Reading Program has moved to a fully online program. We have contracted with Beanstack to provide online tracking of reading goals and activities to minimize cross-contamination possible with paper logs. Paper logs will still be available for patrons without online access. Most of the presenters we contracted with last fall, are graciously providing their programs via Zoom or Facebook Live. We promise an amazing lineup of summer activities for both youth and adults. Craft and activity materials will be provided in advance from the table outside the library. Information will be available soon on how to register on Beanstack. Watch our website and Facebook page for information, as well as your school newsletter.

We ask for your patience as we continue to navigate this uncharted course and make the wisest decisions we can. We appreciate your support. 

Update 4/7/2020: All library programs are cancelled through the month of April. Library materials may still be reserved online and picked up outside the library once you are notified they are ready. If you are a Polk City, Iowa resident and would like a library card, please follow the instructions found on our website.

Update 3/16/2020: The mayor has issued an emergency proclamation closing the library until further notice. Staff will be at the library Monday-Fridays until 5:00 pm. You may reserve materials online and we will deliver them to your vehicle when you arrive. Due dates have been extended although we encourage you to return materials as you finish them so others may receive them.

Update 3/13/2020: At the recommendation of the State Library of Iowa, we are cancelling all library programming for the week of March 15. We will evaluate programming on a weekly basis.


Like many of you, the Polk City Community Library staff is monitoring the most recent news about the coronavirus in order to make the best decisions possible to keep the library’s staff, patrons and community healthy and safe. We will continue to follow directions from state and local health officials and respond as this situation develops.

At the Polk City Community Library, we value our position in the community as a source of trustworthy information and a location where the public gathers to utilize important, free tools and resources. Our core goal during this situation will be to keep the library open to support our community and offer as many services as we can safely provide while also being proactive about taking additional steps beyond our regular practices to maintain those services.

As an added level of precaution, here are things we are doing effective immediately:

  • Removing all toys, LEGO blocks, board games, plush animals, and other interactive materials from our children’s area.
  • Increasing the level and frequency of cleaning and sanitizing the libraries and public items inside our buildings.
  • Providing for public use hand sanitizer at the circulation desk.
  • Requiring staff to practice common preventative measures like hand washing and regularly cleaning and disinfecting surfaces.

At this time, the Polk City Community Library will remain open during all regular hours, and most programming will not be affected. Please view our events calendar at polkcitylibrary.org for more information on canceled programs.

The Library offers a large collection of digital materials, including eBooks, eMagazines, eAudiobooks which can be accessed at any time via our website at www.polkcitylibrary.org.

If anything else changes in the future with regards to PCCL and the services we provide, we will communicate that to our patrons immediately. Please watch for updated information on our website and Facebook page. Thank you.


Coronavirus Info

What is the Coronavirus?*

COVID-19, commonly called the coronavirus, is a respiratory infection that can spread from person-to-person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus that was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China. The reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

Symptoms may appear anywhere from 2-14 days after exposure.

How does the infection spread?

The virus is thought to mainly spread from person to person. 

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

It seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in some affected geographic areas.

In Iowa, as of the morning of Thursday, March 12, fourteen people have tested positive for coronavirus. Twelve of the cases were announced in Johnson County and are related to the same Egyptian cruise. One case is in Pottawattamie County, occurring after a person recently traveled to California.

We will keep information updated here as we see it. The latest information about cornoavirus in Iowa can always be found on the Iowa Department of Public Health website.

Who is at risk of contracting COVID-19?

Everyone is at risk, but certain parts of the population are at higher risk of contracting COVID-19. This includes:

  • Older adults
  • People who have serious chronic medical conditions like:
    • Heart disease
    • Diabetes
    • Lung disease

What are the best ways to prevent contracting the disease?

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

The CDC recommends that only people who show symptoms of COVID-19 wear facemasks in public. People who are well are not recommended to wear a facemask.

What should I do if I have symptoms?

Call your healthcare professional if you feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19, or if you live in or have recently traveled from an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19.

Your healthcare professional will work with the Iowa Department of Public Health and CDC to determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19.

What is the Polk City Community Library doing in response to COVID-19?

The library has a response plan in place to:

  • reduce transmission among staff;
  • inform the community and protect patrons who use the library;
  • maintain core library operations;
  • protect people who are at higher risk for adverse health complications.

As a public-facing institution, it’s vital that our staff stay as safe and healthy as possible while continuing to offer the important resources the library provides to the entire community. Staff have been given guidelines to help reduce spread and exposure among staff and patrons. This includes the following measures:

  • Providing for public use hand sanitizer at the circulation desk.
  • Removing all toys, LEGO blocks, board games, plush animals, and other interactive materials from our children’s area.
  • Increasing the level and frequency of cleaning and sanitizing the libraries and public items inside our buildings.
  • Requiring staff stay home when they are sick.
  • Requiring staff to practice common preventative measures mentioned above.

To learn more about the coronavirus, visit these websites:

*Information about COVID-19 contained in this post has been provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization websites.