News Details

Changes at the Library

Dear Library Patron, 

On behalf of the staff of the Palo Alto City Library, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued support. Since completing the library bond projects, we’ve worked hard to bring you the most relevant collections and programs in our beautiful modern facilities. This fall, the library is making some changes to service that I wanted you to know about: The library will return to the previous standard loan period of 3 weeks, has instituted a new checkout limit for Hoopla, and has added new digital and physical resources. 

Loan Periods and Checkout Limits: 

--New standard loan period 

Beginning October 1, 2017, the Palo Alto City Library will change its standard lending period from 4 weeks to 3 weeks. This is a return to a previous standard loan period, which was changed prior to building the libraries as a way to keep books out longer to make more room on shelves. Moving back to a three-week loan period will also reduce the wait times for new and high-demand materials since the library will no longer have a budget mechanism to acquire additional copies to meet demand. This change also puts the Palo Alto City Library in line with nearly all other public libraries in Santa Clara County. 

What is changing? 

The Palo Alto City Library’s standard loan period is changing from four weeks to three weeks. The standard loan period applies to all library materials except the following: 

  • DVD and Blu-Ray material (14 days) 
  • Chromebooks (7 days) 
  • Lucky Day materials (7 days) 
  • Periodicals (7 days)

When will the change take place? 

This change will take effect on October 1. All standard loan materials checked out or renewed on October 1 and thereafter will have a three-week loan period. 

Why is the change being made? 

The Library is making this change to provide shorter waiting time for new and high-demand materials. The library previously maintained an additional budget to purchase additional material to meet community need for high-demand items and minimize wait time for material holds. That Measure N-funded budget is at its end. The library no longer has a budget mechanism to purchase additional material to meet the shortened wait-time expectations. 

By returning the library’s standard loan period to three-weeks, patrons will have access to high-demand material more quickly. 

How will affect me? 

Any standard loan material checked out prior to October 1 will still be issued a four week loan period. Only materials checked out on October 1 or after will have a three week loan period. 

With the loan period shortened to levels in line with most other libraries in the region, the Library is expecting its community to enjoy greater access to its resources. 

This loan period change will not affect the number of items patrons are able to check out. 

--New Checkout Limit - Hoopla 

Since August 1, the library has reduced the checkout limit for Hoopla from 10 items to 5 items per month per cardholder. The change was necessary because of the high cost due to overwhelming demand on the service. . In our current state of limited materials funding, we want to ensure patrons can utilize the Hoopla service while also maintaining and adding to other collections. 


--Access to New Virtual Collections – Kanopy, Great Courses digital audio books, Kono and StoryPlayer 

On September 1, Palo Alto City Library launched Kanopy, a new film streaming service. With a valid library card, customers may stream up to five films every month. Kanopy has over 30,000 feature films, documentaries, foreign-language films and training videos in its collection. It includes classics from the entire Criterion Collection, many PBS programs as well as titles from the Great Courses series. One unique feature Kanopy offers is “Group Showing Rights”. Community organizations and schools may use films for programming and teaching. 

--New collections 
Bilingual children’s books in English-Chinese, English-Russian, English-Vietnamese, 
Books in the Tamil Language 

Palo Alto Library now has fiction and nonfiction books in Tamil at the Mitchell Park Library. The library has been offering materials in many languages including Chinese, Russian, Spanish and Hindi that have been popular with our community. The library also has Bilingual children’s books in our collection. 


--New Virtual E-Learning Service – Brainfuse 

Brainfuse provides a variety of resources for students including one-on-one homework assistance, learning sessions for students to master state-aligned skills, a 24-hour writing lab and a test center with practice materials for the SAT, ACT, GED, and more. Tutoring is also available for Spanish speakers. Adult learners can benefit from Brainfuse learning tools by receiving assistance from trained adult education experts in skills building, US citizenship testing, and other career-related areas. 

Live Tutors are available Monday to Sunday from 1:00 PM to 10:00 PM PST. Other services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

--New Service - Safe drug disposal program 

Starting on November 1, community members can receive free mailing envelopes and instructions on how to safely mail unwanted medication for safe disposal. In partnership with the MED-Project, all five branches of the library will be participating sites for a regional medical mail back program. This program will help keep prescription medications out of community waterways and safe from accidental ingestion or misuse. 


--New Program – Collaborators for the Future: Libraries, Communities, and Information 

Community members are invited to join us in a lively discussion on October 10, 7 pm: “Collaborators for the Future: Libraries, Communities, and Information.” This event at the Palo Alto Art Center Auditorium will feature Miguel Figueroa, of ALA’s Center for the Future of Libraries; Dan Russell, research scientist at Google; and Sandy Hirsh, Director and Professor of the School of Information at San José State University, talking about the future of libraries. 

--New Series - Celebrate Cultures 

Community members are invited to celebrate Diwali, a Festival of Lights program on the 29th of October between 12PM-5PM at the Rinconada Library. Activities include storytelling, music and dance, Henna art and food trucks.