With businesses closing left and right as new mandates come from the governor's office to slow the spread of COVID-19, the Jefferson County Library is getting creative with how to serve the community in the midst of the pandemic.
Though it has closed its doors to the public, community members can check out physical materials with the library's curbside service.
"Many libraries across the country are considering or have implemented curbside checkout. The JCLD is here to serve residents of the county. We just need to think outside of the box right now," said Jane Ellen Innes, director of the library. "Curbside checkout is one way we can continue providing access to library materials."
She said that they are also continuing to provide online storytimes, in English, Spanish and bilingual, on Facebook for families isolated at home during this time. Online materials are also available through the library on their website, and audiobooks are available through apps like Libby and Overdrive.
"With no delivery service running between Deschutes Public Library, Crook County Library and the Jefferson County Library, only materials available at the JCL are available," she said.
The library officially closed its doors to the public March 19, but Innes said, "The library staff is currently working on a flex schedule. We are focusing on projects that we don't have time to accomplish when the library is open."
Those projects include creating the online storytimes, performing maintenance projects, organizing, relabeling, and confirming that items are shelved correctly, as well as a few deep cleaning and painting projects are on the list, and reviewing policies and job descriptions, she said. "It's an excellent time to take advantage of professional development resources. In the next few days, we are changing to an easier option for searching the online catalog and identifying only items located at the Jefferson County Library."
Innes said that throughout the process of adapting to all of the changes, the library board has been very supportive.
"One of the advantages of being a small organization is we can be incredibly agile. We can make decisions quickly and implement them immediately," she said. "The staff continues to brainstorm about how to provide services."
The initial decision to close came on the recommendation of the American Library Association, Innes said. "Foot traffic had already decreased, and because we are in a rural area, I thought we might be able to stay open a little longer but ultimately decided closing was the responsible course of action," Innes said. "The staff and board are committed to delivering the services we can for as long as we can."
The way the curbside pick up works is library patrons call the library between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Monday through Friday to check on the availability of items they are seeking and place a hold on the materials. Then, once the library staff confirms that they have them and they are on hold, the patron can bring their library card to the staff entrance of the library in the back of the building and ring the bell or call the library.
Staff will come out and get the library card, check out the materials, and bring them back to the door.
There is a 15-item limit on holds and a five-video limit for the service. Innes said that all due date notices have been suspended, and due dates have been extended to April 30. Currently the library is not listed as one of the places required to close under Gov. Kate Brown's new stay at home order announced Monday, March 24.
For more information on the library's curbside service, call 541-475-3351.
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