Getting Back to the Schlow You Know: FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do I still have to wear a mask in the library even though the CDC says I don’t have to because I’m fully vaccinated?

We are requiring all visitors to wear masks so we can continue to protect the most vulnerable among us. Schlow serves a broad population, including many children under the age of 12 who do not yet have access to vaccinations. That contributes significantly to our decision to keep masking in place. We will continue to monitor the State College Area School District along with community data and public health, government, and local guidelines as we ensure access to all for on-site services during this time.

How long am I allowed to stay in the building?

While we’re excited to welcome patrons back into Schlow for this phase of service, due to capacity limits, we ask that you stay only as long as needed to browse, select your items, and check out at the desk or self-checkout stations.

How are you ensuring social distancing in the building?

We’ll be limiting the number of visitors, staff, and volunteers in the building at this time. Signage and staff will help guide library visitors.

Will your hours be expanding further now that in-person browsing is back?

Hours remain the same and are posted at the library and in the footer of this website. We’ll revisit options for the fall as we learn more about when and how people are using Schlow’s in-person services.

Can I still put things on hold through your website to pick up in the lobby?

Absolutely. We had self-serve holds prior to the pandemic and will continue to offer that option now.

Will scheduled pick-ups continue now that browsing has returned?

As of July 31, 2021, scheduled pick-up appointments are no longer necessary. For patrons who prefer not to come into Schlow yet for browsing or to retrieve holds, our team will continue to offer the convenience of outside pick-ups. During regular library hours, just ring the doorbell by the front entrance and staff will be out shortly to help. No appointment or pre-scheduling needed!

Can I pick up my items without actually coming into the building?

Yes. Schlow staff will be happy to retrieve and check out your reserves while you wait outside on an as-needed basis. Please ring the doorbell near the front entrance for convenient, outside-only service during normal library hours.

Can I use a computer to access the internet? Do I still have to make an appointment?

Public computers will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. No appointments will be necessary. Because computers are limited to allow for social distancing, computing time also will be limited to 45-minutes. The library also has laptops available for checkout. Please see a staff person for more information.

Where are all the newspapers? When are you going to start getting them again?

Nearly all print newspapers are paused for now. We will investigate re-purchasing print subscriptions as our re-opening plans progress. In the meantime, we encourage library cardholders to try the new complimentary digital subscription to the New York Times along with other online services.

Why are the train table and light table missing from the Children’s Department?

Play tables have been removed from the department for the time being to minimize gathering and limit contact as we continue to protect our most vulnerable visitors, including children under 12.

Do I need to validate my parking ticket now that you’re open for browsing?

Yes, parking is available in Schlow Library lots during regular business hours for free, and validation is required. You’ll find validation stations in the lobby and the Children’s Department. Please note: Personal vehicles must be removed from the lot when you leave the library to avoid being towed.

Can I pay for my lost book at the front desk, or do I need to pay for it online?

We will be accepting payment in cash and credit at the service desks, and credit only at the self-checkouts.

When are you going to start having programs in the building again?

All of our programs will be virtual through the summer. We will re-evaluate options as we get closer to fall. Please be assured that we are working steadily to safely provide building access.

Do I have to wear a mask to browse the shelves?

Yes, a mask is required for all patrons two years old and up to enter the building to browse or pick up reserves. The scheduled pick-up option is an alternative for those without masks.

Do I have to wear a mask even if I can show proof of vaccination?

Yes. Schlow is requiring everyone two years old and up to wear a mask at this time, regardless of vaccination status, to help protect our most vulnerable visitors and staff.

Can I bring my own bag(s) to carry my books?

Yes. Patrons can bring in their own bags; however, please note that you will need to fill them on your own with your reserves at the service desk and the self-checkouts.

Where can I return my books? Is it OK to bring them into the lobby?

No fines are accruing on items borrowed from Schlow Centre Region Library or Centre County Library & Historical Museum locations until further notice.

In addition to the returns in front of our building and the rear of our parking lot, all of our remote returns are now open to accept returns. Please continue to return your items in these locations.

Are fines still going to be waived?

Yes. To avoid additional financial burdens on our community, fines will continue to be waived at this time; however, to ensure the availability of our materials to all patrons, items not returned in a timely manner will be marked lost, and your account will be charged the associated replacement costs.

Can I use the copy machine?

Yes. Copy machines will be open for public use. Printing service is also available.

Can I study, work, or read a magazine/newspaper?

Because occupancy is limited during this re-opening phase, we ask that you stay only as long as needed to browse, select your items, and check out at the desk or self-checkout stations.

Is there a place where I can meet with someone?

Our usual event and meeting spaces inside the building will not be available at this time. While we’re excited to welcome patrons back into Schlow for browsing, due to capacity limits and social distancing requirements, we ask that you stay only as long as needed to find your items and check out.

Will you still offer the grab-and-go bags of books?

Yes! Grab-and-Go Book Bags will be for sale, just $5! Please see a staff person to make your purchase.

Can I use the water fountains/restrooms?

Yes. Restrooms will be available. Water bottle ports and drinking spouts on water fountains are accessible.

Can I use the pay phone?

The public pay phone in Schlow's lobby is not accessible.

Why did you keep the building closed to the public for so long?

The safety of our staff, volunteers, and patrons has been Schlow’s top priority throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to consistently high rates of coronavirus cases in our community and based on guidance from public health and government entities, we could not safely offer public access to the building until now. We’re looking forward to re-introducing in-person services step by step as conditions allow.

Why am I being billed for items when there are no late fees?

To ensure the availability of our materials to all patrons, items not returned in a timely manner will be marked lost, and your account will be charged the associated replacement costs.

What types of Items Can I Check Out?

At this time, we are not circulating a few collections for the safety of our patrons and staff. We plan to resume access to additional collections as we expand our service capacity. Thank you for your patience as we work towards serving the community in a safe manner.

Items currently not able to be checked out

  • Concept Kits
  • Games & Toys in the Children's Department
  • Reference Materials

How do I Get a Library Card?

Online Library Card Account Creation: All Centre County residents, permanent and temporary, are eligible (13 years of age or older or under 12, with guardian permission).

  • Go to:
  • Enter your information in all fields.
  • Check the boxes to confirm that you are a resident of Centre County and 13 years of age or older or a legal guardian of the applicant, and grant permission for this account
  • A temporary library card number will be issued to you so that you can immediately access online resources via The temporary number will expire in 60 days.
  • Your permanent library card will be mailed to you in 7-10 business days.
  •  Mail option: You can check out materials at the Library once your account information has been confirmed by showing photo I.D. at the Main Service Desk.

Need help? Email us at

How do I Renew My Library Account?

Library accounts automatically expire every two years. If you have tried to access your account and failed, your card may need to be renewed. You can renew your account online, or you can call the library at 814.237.6236 with your library card number and we'll be happy to update your account.

How can I Get Updates on Library Services & Events?

Please visit this page, subscribe to our monthly email newsletter, and follow our social media outlets (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn) often as we continue to post updates during this rapidly-evolving situation, and thank you for your patience as we determine the best course to continue providing library services while protecting the health of our visitors, volunteers and staff.