Phased Re-opening Plan

The Palo Alto City Library is looking forward to phased reopening of our branches for browsing and pickups. Reopening under City, County and CDC guidelines is starting this month! Keep an eye out for updates and changes to Sidewalk Service as the Library reopens. 

The Children’s Library will reopen to the public on Tuesday, April 13

Open Tuesdays, Wednesdays & Saturdays from 1–5 PM

Appointments are required for visits, browsing and pickups. Visit our Current Library Services for more information and to access our appointment sign-ups. Appointments will be available starting April 9.

Face coverings are required to be worn in City facilities, per State Requirements. Visitors 3 years and older must wear face coverings when visiting a Palo Alto City Library. Social distancing protocols will still be in place.

Limited capacity and maintaining 6’ will be required.
In May, Mitchell Park and Rinconada Libraries will also reopen for limited services by appointment only.

As we reopen each branch, we will modify Sidewalk Service availability, starting with reducing Rinconada Library hours, in order to support services at Children’s Library.

Sidewalk Services continue at the Mitchell Park & Rinconada Libraries

Sidewalk Services will be available Tuesday through Saturday from 12–5 PM at the Mitchell Park Library.

Starting April 13, Sidewalk Services will be available Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 12–5 PM and Saturdays from 10 AM–12 PM at the Rinconada Library.

A few updates and reminders

Starting April 13, all returned items will be quarantined for 24 hours to protect the health and safety of both Library staff and patrons. Please allow up to 4 days for returned items to be removed from your account. No late fines are incurred for any items returned. This change in quarantine period is keeping in line with quarantine periods maintained by other library systems in our county.

Please return any overdue items, so that other library customers can enjoy them! No overdue fees will be assessed, and you'll be able to use your account again. Library customers who have been billed for replacement of overdue materials will be contacted by our collections agency.

You can cancel any holds you no longer need via phone (329-2436), email ( or by logging into your account.
Materials can be returned 24/7 at Mitchell Park & Rinconada Libraries, and all weekend long at Downtown & College Terrace Libraries.

As the Library prepares to open after a year-long closure, we’d love to hear how we’ve impacted your lives. Please Share Your Library Story with us!