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Librarians check out nearly 7,000 items to nearly 1,200 people in July as quarantine period expands from 72 hours to 96 hours

During the first full month of Oregon City's no-contact holds pickup service in July, the public library checked out nearly 7,000 items to nearly 1,200 individual patrons. These numbers are well below the more than 40,000 items the library usually checks out in a typical month, but the pandemic has thrown everything typical out the window.

"Most importantly, we have been able to offer the service in a manner which helps protect the health and safety of patrons and staff," said Oregon City Library Director Greg Williams.

On July 20, the federally-funded Reopening Archives, Libraries, and Museums Project performed a second round of testing to determine how long the virus that causes COVID-19 can survive on materials. Based on those findings, Oregon City librarians have increased their materials quarantine period from 72 hours to 96 hours.

COURTESY PHOTO - Librarians wear gloves and masks to handle and organize returned materials in the lobby at the Oregon City Public Library.With the library's existing circulation room too small to serve as a staging area for materials quarantine, the lobby is currently being used in this capacity.

Oregon City's historic Carnegie library wing has been largely cleared of furniture so it can be considered as a location where appointment-based, physically-distanced computer services could be offered at some point in the future.

All libraries in the county have agreed to check in materials fine-free and to extend circulation periods on all items to 28 days, through Labor Day.

Clackamas County's Library of Things program (which allows people to check out items such as Instant Pots, WiFi hotspots, puzzles and more) was the recipient of a 2020 National Association of Counties award for community and economic development. Oregon City recently added more than 60 items to its Library of Things collection, with a particular emphasis on puzzles and indoor and outdoor games to help keep citizens active and entertained while at home.

OC's "grab and go" Art Kits and Summer Reading Prize Book giveaway has received hundreds of requests for no-contact pickups or home mailing. The library's large conference room upstairs is serving as a prep area for art kit and prize book mailing.

On July 20, the OC library hosted the first meeting for its Building Bridges: Anti-Racism Book Club, which voted to make "How to Be an Antiracist" by Ibram X. Kendi its first book for discussion. The group, currently at 22 members, meets in Bookclubz, a virtual meeting platform where members can message each other and share resources. The group will hold its next meeting at 4 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 24.


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