Meeting a need: HEPL provides curbside service, virtual programs; reopens this week

Deputy Director of Impact Lori Holewinski showcases the library’s curbside pick-up service. (Photo by Anna Skinner)

Hamilton East Public Library is doing its part to provide Noblesville and Fishers residents with items in a safe manner.

It plans to reopen this week to in-person patrons with modified hours of operation. Patrons are encouraged to wear face coverings, which will be made available at the library.

In addition to reopening its doors, HEPL also will continue offering curbside service for the at-risk population and for those who aren’t ready to venture out.

“The phases align with the stages of Gov. (Eric) Holcomb’s Back on Track plan,” HEPL Director Edra Waterman said. “We have everything in place for people to place holds like they normally do and then follow the process to come to the library and pick those up. It’s a contact-free system where the person is pulling up and we are putting the materials outside and people are collecting them.”

Besides traditional libray items like books and movies, HEPL is making its seeds from its seed library available for curbside pick-up at the Noblesville branck. Moreover, the Ignite Studio at the Fishers branch is making creativity packs available for curbside pick-up at the Noblesville branch.

“The creativity pack envelope has everything you need for a creative activity,” Waterman said. “It does not have to be returned. It is something we are offering as another way to keep people engaged and offer a connection to Ignite.”

At the seed library,  88 varieties are available. Patrons can take home 15 packs at a time. 

As for down the road, Deputy Director of Impact Lori Holewinski said in-person programs may return in August.

“August through October we might have some small, in-person offerings. That’s the first time we will be able to make that a possibility, but we will still be doing mostly virtual,” Holewinski said. “We have a COVID-19 occupancy load number from our architect for each of the program rooms, and those numbers are amazingly small. For the larger program room, the max is 14, so it won’t be what people are used to.”

HEPL’s Communications and Marketing Manager Shelley Huffman said the library has transitioned to virtual programming in the meantime.

“We had to pivot pretty quickly,” Huffman said. “What used to be our events calendar turned into a virtual events calendar, and we have programming for all ages. The more popular ones are Ignite Studio is hosting a weekly artist meet-up opportunity for artists to come together and have discussions (virtually).”

Other virtual programs include English as a New Language meet-ups, book clubs and the genealogy group.

“We are expanding at a pretty quick pace our virtual program offering,” Waterman said. “We didn’t disrupt services. We expanded our e-book offering’s digital collection (and) we had digital access to library cards for people who didn’t have library cards. We put many things in place to remove barriers.”

In addition to other virtual offerings, the summer reading program launched June 1 and is completely virtual.

Library staff is available through the Chat with a Librarian phone service. Each service desk has a reference package to help direct patrons to public assistance programs that may support their needs. Librarians answer phones from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday. 

For more, visit

Deputy Director of Impact Lori Holewinski showcases the library’s curbside pick-up service. (Photo by Anna Skinner)

Providing Wi-Fi

Hamilton East Public Library launched its parking lot Wi-Fi service April 1 in order to serve patrons who may not have access to Wi-Fi at home. The service will continue even when the COVID-19 pandemic ends.

To date, the service has been used by 151 patrons at the Noblesville branch. Its parking lot Wi-Fi attracts approximately 19 new users per week.


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