At its regular meeting on Monday, September 14, the Barrington Area Library Board of Trustees offered its gratitude to Carolyn Welch Clifford, who is retiring from the Board after more than 19 years, including more than 9 years as Board Vice President.

The Board presented a resolution of appreciation to Clifford, acknowledging her contribution as a "passionate advocate for the Library, its programs, services, and staff." Clifford has volunteered countless hours of her time on behalf of the Library’s patrons, provided wise counsel to Library leaders and Board of Trustees, and championed the Library’s objectives to stimulate imagination, develop information fluency, foster lifelong learning, and create young readers. She also served on the Board during a major Library facility redesign and revitalization project in 2013 and 2014. After being honored with the resolution, Clifford was also made a Permanent Cardholder of the District.

On behalf of the Barrington Area Library community, we offer our admiration and appreciation to Carolyn Welch Clifford for her leadership, commitment, and years of service to the District. 

The Barrington Area Library is pleased to announce that it will no longer charge overdue fines.

Why? We want to eliminate as many barriers to library service as possible, and, we’d rather focus our time, energy, and resources on building positive relationships with you, our valued customers!

What does this mean for customers?

Most items check out for four weeks. See a detailed list of loan periods.

A reminder is sent before items are due. Weekly reminders are sent once items are overdue.

Customers may log into their accounts to renew items for up to two additional loan periods, provided they are not on hold for other customers. Auto-renewal is not available at this time.

At four weeks overdue, a bill for replacement is sent, and the customer’s library account is paused. Paused accounts may not be used to borrow physical materials. To reactivate an account, items more than four weeks overdue must be returned or renewed, or, the replacement cost must be paid.

Our Customer Service team has been systematically removing old overdue fines from accounts as well. Fees will still apply in certain circumstances: MakerLab materials, Meeting Room coffee service, Non-Resident Library Cards, Interlibrary Loan items that are not picked up.

How and why did the Library make this decision?

Every community is unique, and every public library must balance the unique wants, needs, and characteristics of the community it serves with the need for due diligence and fiscal responsibility. In order to make a well-informed decision regarding the elimination of overdue fines, BALibrary staff spent more than a year researching the borrowing process. What that process revealed: Barrington Area Library customers are conscientious stewards of library materials! On average, at any given time, only about .6% of the Library’s collection is overdue. Only about .2% of the collection is ever more than 21 days overdue. The Library believes that strong sense of responsibility to the larger community will remain, even without overdue fines.

Also discovered in the research process: overdue fines disproportionately affect children, which goes against the Library’s mission goal of creating young readers. When barriers are removed and opportunities are increased, everyone benefits.

Eliminating overdue fines will also improve efficiency and the Library’s bottom line. In years past, one out of every five Customer Service transactions related to fine payment. Fines collection costs the Library more than $22,000 a year in staff time and vendor costs. Those human and financial resources can now be used for initiatives that foster positive community relationships.

When the Library temporarily closed in March 2020 due to COVID-19, plans were already underway to eliminate overdue fines. During the closure, the Library extended due dates so overdue fines would not accrue, even after the Library reopened in July. Customer Service staff also worked behind the scenes to waive all previous outstanding overdue fines from customer accounts. The Library Board of Trustees approved the final policy change to eliminate overdue fines at its regular meeting on Monday, September 14, 2020.

What happens if I have lost an item?

A bill for lost items is sent at four weeks overdue. Customers may simply return the items and the bill will be cancelled. If the item is lost, damaged, or unable to be returned, customers may pay the bill online or in person at the Customer Service desk. Under this new policy, customers are charged a discounted library rate equivalent to the replacement cost, with a small processing fee. If a customer finds an item after paying the bill, a refund may be processed up to 90 days after the item was declared lost.

Beginning Monday, September 14, 2020, computer workstations in our Business & Technology Center will reopen to the public. Eight workstations will be available, along with printing and scanning services.

Most other Bus & Tech Center services and spaces remain closed until further notice. Wi-Fi is available but there is no seating available at this time - feel free to sit outside or even in your car to use Wi-Fi. Remote 3-D printing and laser cutting are available from our Digital Services department.

Please note these important details about using the computer workstations:

  • Customers will be able to make one 45 minute reservation per day, via the Library website.

  • Walk-up reservations will also be accepted.

  • Reservations are valid only for the specific time slots listed below. No exceptions can be made. We advise that you arrive at or before the time of your reservation, to get the full benefit of your time slot.

  • Guest passes will also be available on a first come, first served basis.

  • Every hour, beginning at 15 minutes to the hour, the computers will shut down and the entire department will close for disinfection. All customers must vacate the department and take all belongings with them.

  • Customers over the age of 2 must wear a mask at all times while in the Library building.

Computer Reservation Times

Please note that no exceptions to this schedule can be made at this time. Make your online reservation here. Use the same log-in information that you use for your BALibrary account.

Monday-Friday Saturday Sunday
9 - 9:45 AM 9 - 9:45 AM 1 - 1:45 PM
10 - 10:45 AM 10 - 10:45 AM 2 - 2:45 PM
11 - 11:45 AM 11 - 11:45 AM 3 - 3:45 PM
12 - 12:45 PM 12 - 12:45 PM 4 - 4:45 PM
1 - 1:45 PM 1 - 1:45 PM  
2 - 2:45 PM 2 - 2:45 PM  
3 - 3:45 PM 3 - 3:45 PM  
4 - 4:45 PM 4 - 4:45 PM  
5 - 5:45 PM    
6 - 6:45 PM    
7 - 7:45 PM    
8 - 8:45 PM    

Read the library's Computer Use Policy.
Scanning/Printing services: Our Simple Scan Stations use touchscreen technology for fast, simple scanning to PDF, Word, or HTML formats, with options to save, email, or print. We recently updated our Simple Scan Stations to provide even more functionality: check out the list below. You'll find Simple Scan Stations in the Business & Technology Center and in Youth Services, both located on the first floor, and on the second floor in the Adult Services area.
What can you do at a Simple Scan?
FREE Services:

  • Scan materials to:
    • USB drive
    • Email (as an attachment)
    • Smartphone
    • Google Drive
    • One Drive
    • Dropbox
  • Restore Pictures: Enhance and/or restore faded or damaged images
  • Text Translation: Translate text to 64 different languages
  • Scan Text to Audio: Translate text to an audio file in 54 different languages

Additional Paid Services:
Scan-to-Print ($.10/pg B&W; $.25/pg Color)
Scan-to-Fax ($.50/pg domestic; $1/pg international)

Try new Simple Scan Stations the next time you visit BALibrary!Need to print? We have printers for all our Internet computers. Want to print at the library from your wireless laptop or even from your home computer?Use our Web Printing Service. Get all the details and set up your print requests.


The Barrington Area Library building reopened for "browse and borrow" services on Monday, July 27, 2020.

“Browse and borrow” is our way of reorganizing the Library for quick, convenient visits. Choose from our great selection of books, movies, and more, while receiving efficient, friendly service from staff, in a safe and clean environment.

Good news: eight computer workstations are available for 45 minute sessions in the Business and Technology Center. Please visit the computers/internet page to learn the details and to make a reservation. Our automated pick-up lockers are back in service, too.

What can customers expect during this phase of the Library’s reopening?

  • The Library is open all regular hours: Monday – Friday, 9 AM – 9 PM, Saturday, 9 AM – 5 PM, Sunday, 1 – 5 PM.

  • All staff and all Library customers over the age of two years must wear a face covering while inside the Library and at outdoor programs. If you aren’t able to wear a face covering, please contact us so we can find the best way to assist you.

  • Customers may pick up holds inside the Library building, during regular hours, or choose to have items delivered to our pick-up lockers. Customers may also continue to use Parking Lot Pick-Up through October 31, during the following hours: Monday-Friday, 1 - 6 PM;  Saturday, 9 AM – 1 PM; Sunday, 1 – 5 PM. Beginning Oct 5, Parking Lot Pick-Up will transition to our new Borrow By Mail service. Read about Borrow By Mail.

  • Library staff are available in every department, to provide assistance, recommendations, and reference expertise, while practicing safe social distancing. Chat, email, and phone service are also available.

  • Some popular book collections have been moved into the Atrium and Café for quick, convenient checkout.

  • Customers may use Wi-Fi, Simple Scan stations (scan, save, fax, email, and more), Remote Web Printing (send print jobs to the Library for pick-up), and Library Catalog/15 Minute Express Internet stations (quick searching). Customers may reserve 45-minute computer sessions on the eight workstations in the Business & Technology Center.

  • Customers may register for online one-on-one appointments.

  • Most book returns are back in service. Returned items are quarantined for five-seven days. Then they are checked in and removed from your account. The Barrington Area Library no longer charges overdue fines!

  • Customers may enjoy Library items even longer with new Loan Periods:
    • 7 days: Movies on DVD, Blu-Ray DVDs, foreign films, 4K Blu-Rays, video games, Technology Equipment (except tablets)
    • 14 days: TV series on DVD
    • 28 days: all other items except tablets

  • Hand sanitizing stations will be available throughout the building and public spaces and high-touch surfaces will be sanitized throughout the day.

In order to provide the safest experience possible, some Library services and facilities will not be available during this phase. These include:

  • Youth Services play areas and interactives. Visit our online Events Calendar and Youth Services blog for take-home activity kits and outdoor story times.

  • Meeting Rooms, Zimmerman Room, and Study Rooms.

  • MakerLab and Digital Studios. You may submit 3-D print jobs and complete laser-cutting projects to our Digital Services team.

  • Public seating/work areas: there are no tables, chairs, booths, or other seating available.

  • Youth Services computers and iPads.

  • Indoor Library programs. Browse our online Events Calendar for outstanding virtual events for all ages, and outdoor, in-person programs for families.

  • Newspapers & Newsletters - there is no way to disinfect these items between uses, so they will not be available during this phase. This is a great time to try our Pressreader service - free online access to thousands of newspapers and magazines, including the Chicago Tribune. Magazines will be available for checkout.

  • Interlibrary Loan.

  • In-person one-on-one appointments.

We know this experience will seem different from the Barrington Area Library you know and love, as some of our most popular services, like the Youth Services play area and our Meeting Rooms, will not be available. We will continue to research best practices and seek out the advice of state and local healthcare organizations, in order to offer expanded services to our community in the future, in the safest environment possible.

It's been our pleasure to begin rolling out in-person services to you, our community, over the past few weeks.

The Library building remains closed to the public until further notice. Our goal from day one has been to continue offering as many library services as possible, in the safest way possible, keeping the health of customers and employees as our highest priority. We're following a phased reopening plan, with several weeks between each phase, giving us time to obtain needed supplies and fixtures, process thousands of new books and movies that arrived over the last few months, rearrange library spaces in accordance with appropriate social distancing standards, and perfect new services.

Book returns began reopening the week of June 8, and all but three are now open and ready for your returns. (Advocate Good Shepherd, Barrington High School, and the indoor return at Willow Recreation Center remain closed.)

We remind you that there is no hurry to return items. No overdue fines will accrue, and when items are returned, they are being held in quarantine for three days, so they will remain on your library account for awhile longer.
Details about book return locations.

Parking Lot Pick-Up service began the week of June 15, and in July we are offering expanded hours. Current hours are Monday-Friday, 1 - 6 PM, and Saturday, 9 AM - 1 PM. We've already delivered more than 17,000 items to more than 1,000 customers! We will continue to offer this service for the foreseeable future, even after the Library building reopens its doors to the public.
Details about Parking Lot Pick-Up service

When will the Library building reopen?
Our phased reopening plan specifies Monday, July 27, as our official reopening date. For the first phase of reopening, expect to find:

  1. full browsing access to books and movies for adults, teens, and children - technology equipment will also be available for checkout;
  2. Parking Lot Pick-Up and indoor hold pick-up;
  3. friendly, professional assistance and expertise from our staff, keeping social distancing standards in mind;
  4. all staff and visitors wearing face coverings, in accordance with Governor Pritzker's mandate and Illinois Department of Public Health guidelines;
  5. a clean and welcoming environment, sanitized to industry standards.

Full details coming soon, so watch our website, our social media channels, and our e-mail newsletters for information.