News from the Cranford Public Library
At the Cranford Public Library, we're working to provide services to our library users as they face new daily challenges, and encourage and model safe and healthy practices. Through digital collections, outreach and programming, we will be here for you. And very soon, we'll be making our physical collections available to you as well.

For official information from the Township of Cranford regarding COVID-19 and other important updates, please click here to subscribe to Township Alerts, News and Announcements. Official statements can also be found on the Township of Cranford Facebook page.

We welcome your feedback and suggestions, and look forward to returning to full service as soon as we can. In the meantime, please address your questions and concerns to Here is an update on what to expect next!
Pick It Up! Grab and Go Service Starts June 29
The Cranford Public Library's first week of accepting returns is going well, and we're thrilled to announce that we will hit our target date for contactless access to the Library's collection: Monday, June 29 ! At 11:00 am on Monday, we'll be kicking off our Grab and Go service, finally getting the books, CDs, DVD and audiobooks you've been waiting for into your hands. This is an entirely new service, and members of the library staff have needed to develop a number of new skills in a very short time, but we're confident in our ability to provide this service in a way that is safe and will keep everyone healthy.

Here's how it will work:
  • Starting Monday, you can place a request for just about any item in the library's collection (sorry, we won't be circulating hand puppets at this time!) through our online public access catalog, or via, phone, email or chat during the library's operating hours.
  • Library staff will handle these requests, pull items from the shelf, process and check out those items, and bag and mark them for pickup.
  • Every morning, we will make a final check of all materials, call all patrons who have items that are ready to go, and place those items on tables at the library's front entrance.
  • You can stop by the library at any time during our operating hours and pick up your items. A member of the library staff will be on site, behind a glass door, to help you locate your items. Masks and/or face coverings are still required.

It's very different from how we normally do things, and of course, all of these provisions are temporary. We appreciate your patience, as we continue to install new protective equipment, train staff, and incorporate new safety measures in preparation for reopening our building to the public. In the meantime, please keep reading for a looooooong list of details.
Our Phased Reopening Plan - Phase Two: Grab and Go Service
As mentioned above, our target date for Grab and Go pickup is  Monday, June 29, 2020. This process was outlined in the Cranford Public Library's Phased Reopening Plan, and is central to Phase Two - our next steps in the road to restoring full service!

As with returning items, this is going to be a complex process. Libraries are high-touch environments, and materials are often handled by several people before making it into your hands. This process is designed to ensure that all materials are properly quarantined, handled by staff members wearing personal protective equipment, and exchanged with a minimum of contact.

Here are the most up to date answers to the most common questions we've received. As we determine more details, or if any part of this process changes, we will provide updates. Again, thank you for your patience and understanding. Our hearts are lifted at the prospect of getting our books back out into your homes. If your question isn't answered here, you can always send it to

What are the library's new operating hours?
The library will be open for an altered schedule during Phase Two, as follows:

Monday: 11:00 am to 7:00 pm
Tuesday: 11:00 am to 7:00 pm
Wednesday: 11:00 am to 2:00 pm, then 4:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Thursday: 11:00 am to 7:00 pm
Friday: 11:00 am to 7:00 pm

You'll be able to pick up your requested items at the library's front entrance during those hours. The library staff will be working in the building earlier than this, preparing the day's pickups, calling library cardholders, handling requests, processing returns, checking in new items, and disinfecting all high-touch surfaces.

Can I come into the library and browse during those hours?
At this time we are providing access to the library collection through Grab and Go pickup only.

How do I request an item?
There are several ways to do that. The most efficient way is to use the library's Online Public Access Catalog, using the barcode on the back of your library card and four-digit PIN.

That's right. If you don't know your PIN, or you can't find your library card, please reach out to the library via phone, email or chat.

All right, I have my PIN. What do I do with it?
  • Visit
  • Click on “Account Login” in the Navigation Bar (across the top of the page)
  • Enter your barcode and PIN and click “Log In.”
Using the menus on the screen that appears, you can view any items you have checked out, when your items are due, and any holds you have placed!

I'm logged in. How do I request an item?
Are you on a desktop/laptop computer, or a smartphone/tablet?

I'm on a desktop/laptop computer.
  • Look at the navigation menu at the top of the window. Click on “Search,” and in the dropdown menu that appears, click on “Keyword.” (There are lots of useful search options, but let’s focus on Keyword searches right now)
  • Enter an author, title or keyword into the search bar and click “Go!”
  • You should see a list of results. To the right of each title, you should see three buttons: Availability, Full Display, and Place Request.
  • Click Availability to see where an item is. Please note that, as all returned items are being quarantined, it may take some time to put a book back on the shelf after it is returned.
  • Click Full Display if you want to learn more about a title.
  • Click Place Request to place a hold on an item! (If you’re logged out, you’ll need to enter your library barcode and PIN again)
  • Leave the Pickup Library and Activation Date alone, and click “Submit Request.”

I'm on a smartphone/tablet.
  • At the bottom of the screen look for a small menu with the option “Home.” Tap that, and then, on the page that pops up, tap “Search the Catalog.”
  • Enter an author, title or keyword into the search bar and tap “Search.”
  • You should see a list of results. Tap any title for more information.
  • Tap “Find It” to see where an item is. Please note that, as all returned items are being quarantined, it may take some time to put a book back on the shelf after it is returned.
  • Tap “Details” if you want to learn more about a title.
  • Tap “Request It” to place a hold on an item! (If you’re logged out, you’ll need to enter your library barcode and PIN again)
  • Leave the Pickup Library and Activation Date alone, and tap “Submit Request.”

Searching is fun.
We agree! If you get stuck, or if you want to become a real power searcher, you can always click the Help button in our online catalog's main menu to learn more.

Is there any other way I can request an item?
There are three other ways! During the library's operating hours, you can request an item by calling (908) 709-7272, or by visiting and clicking the chat icon at the lower right corner of the screen. You can also email us at

Can I come to the library and request an item in person?
During Phase Two, we are taking all requests via the catalog, phone, email and chat, so that they are all processed through a single work area. We will be looking to restore this service in our next phase.

How many items can I request at once?
Because of the anticipated volume of requests, if you are contacting us via phone, chat or email, we ask that you limit yourself to three items. There is currently no limit on simultaneous requests placed through the online catalog: we will work to provide as many items as we can.

And how many items can I have checked out at once?
You can have up to 20 items checked out at once.

Can I call or email and and have you pick out some items for me?
We can work with you on that. Reach out to us during our operating hours.

So now that I've requested some items, what do I do?
Just wait for us to give you a call! If we need any more information, we'll contact you.

When will that be?
It depends. If the item is currently checked out to someone else, it may take some time, as once that item is returned, it will need to be quarantined. If the item is available to check out, hopefully we will be able to contact you the following morning. However, given the volume of requests we expect to field, it may be a little longer. We appreciate your patience, as we intend to keep every one of our library patrons in good health.

I got the call: My books are ready! What do I do?
The day we call you, stop by the library during that day's operating hours and walk right up the the front door, wearing your mask or face covering. The doors will be propped open and you will not need to handle them. If there is someone on line in front of you, follow social distancing guidelines. 6 foot intervals have been clearly marked on the sidewalk and ramp leading up the the library. Once you are at the library's front door, you will see that day's items available for pickup, bagged and arranged on tables.

My items are ready, but I can't make it to the library today!
Don't worry, we'll put your items out again the following business day, and the day after, before returning them to the shelf.

At the library, how will I know which bag is mine?
Your bag will be clearly marked with the first four letters of your last name and the last four digits of your library barcode. If you need help finding your items, there will be a member of the library staff just behind the door to help guide you.

So I just grab my bag and go?
You grab your bag and go! We'll see you again when you're done with your book, movie or CD!

Will you bring my items out to my car?
During Phase Two, we are not bringing items out to the parking lot, as we have no way to ensure contactless service outside the building. The library's front door was chosen for its accessibility, but please contact us if you are physically unable to make it to the library.

When do I bring my items back?
At this time our loan periods are staying the same, and items will automatically renew if no one is waiting for them. Due to the complexity of the checkout/return/quarantine process, we will not be charging fines, and trust you to bring your items back when you are finished with them. A reminder that you can see what is checked out on your card, your requests, and your due dates, by logging into our online catalog.

I got a call to pick up some books today, but I'm supposed to return the books I currently have out on a different day. Can I just bring them with me today?
Sure you can; just don't tell anyone else that I said it was okay (wink).

What is being done to protect library staff and patrons?
In addition to everything laid out in our last update, we are taking staff temperatures daily, maintaining records of who handles library materials, and relocating office spaces in the building to support social distancing. We will regularly disinfect surfaces in the space where you will pick up your items, and monitor that space at all times to ensure everyone follows required procedures and best practices.

What else is happening in Phase Two?
The answer is the same as before: training, discussion and review. Our services are going to look very different, at least for a little while, and we're all experiencing them for the first time. Our dedicated staff has already shown their skill in adapting temporarily to a fully virtual world, and are ready to take the next step forward - with all due caution and with your health and safety in mind.

And what's going to happen in Phase Three?
In Phase Three we will be allowing a limited number of patrons into the library building.

Fantastic! When will that happen?
As soon as we have a specific date, we will let you know. At this moment we are targeting late July. While libraries will be permitted to reopen at 25% capacity as early as July 2 (again, we heard about this development at the same moment that you did), a few things need to happen before we can do so safely: plexiglass dividers (ordered in May and not yet delivered to our vendor's warehouse) will need to be installed; PPE supplies (particularly replenishment of gloves and cleaning solution), also ordered in May, will need to be delivered and deployed; sections of the library that cannot be properly monitored will need to be cordoned off; new cleaning and disinfection procedures will be established, and gaps in the library's schedule will be filled.

I see some other libraries are opening sooner...
Every library's reopening plan will differ, just as the design of every building, the number of items checked out and returned daily (we are a library with high traffic and usage), and the specific needs of each community will differ. At the Cranford Public Library, we are committed to doing everything we can to restore services in a timely fashion without risking the health of our library users, workers and volunteers. Again, we thank you for your patience, and we look forward to seeing you back in the library soon.
Update on Phase One - Returns
Thank you to everyone who has returned books on specific assigned days. It has really helped us manage the volume of books coming in on a daily basis, which could best be described as... well, a picture is worth a thousand words! What you are seeing here on the table was returned within five hours of our reopening on Monday. That doesn't count the full bins you can see... or several more, just out of view.

At this time, we want to take another week to spread out these returns, using the same system:

Last name starting with A-F
Monday, June 29
11:00 am to 7:00 pm

Last name starting with G-L
Tuesday, June 30
11:00 am to 7:00 pm

Last name starting with M-R
Wednesday, July 1
11:00 am to 2:00 pm, or 4:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Last name starting with S-Z
Thursday, July 2
11:00 am to 7:00 pm

It looks like we'll be on track to open the book drops soon. In the meantime, thank you for working with us and making Phase One a success!
More to Come...
As always, I'll close with a reminder to visit our Online Resources page to access ebooks (through our eLibraryNJ and hoopla digital libraries), newspapers, and other digital databases, and stay tuned to the Cranford Public Library Facebook and Instagram pages for more library info. We hope you're staying safe, healthy and educated, and we look forward to seeing you - in person - again!

Michael Maziekien, Library Director
Cranford Public Library
Cranford Public Library | 224 Walnut Ave
Cranford, NJ 07016