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Hillsdale library reopens to public after being closed for 16 months during pandemic

PMG PHOTO: COURTNEY VAUGHN - Sumi Sukumaran helps her daughter, Lara Rajamani, find a book at the Hillsdale Library. The library branch reopened to the public Tuesdaym July 13 after being closed for more than a year.Staff at the Hillsdale library opened the doors to the public for the first time in 16 months Tuesday, July 13.

Multnomah County, which operates 19 library branches, including two in Southwest Portland, has scheduled the reopening of each branch on a staggered schedule. The Capitol Hill Library was reopened June 25, along with branches in Gregory Heights, Gresham, Holgate, Kenton, Midland, Rockwood and Woodstock.

The Hillsdale branch reopened July 13.

Inviting guests back inside was a welcome event for Jay Hadley, who manages the Hillsdale branch.

"We're very excited to open our doors and let people come back in and use the space and use our computers and look at the books for themselves," Hadley said. "I think that's one of the things people are most excited about, is to look at the books. Browsing is learning and when you're able to choose your own materials it opens your mind up to new possibilities. That's what a library is good for. We're really excited to have folks come back in."

PMG FILE PHOTO - Hillsdale Library Branch Manager Jay Hadley, pictured here in 2019. Hadley noted the Hillsdale branch has seen high demand for its curbside book check-out services offered during the pandemic, saying the branch logged about 130 appointments a day.

County library representatives advise checking the county's website to get updated branch hours for each location.

There is no time limit for visiting the library, and visitors can take advantage of free computers, WiFi and endless book browsing but pre-pandemic activities like youth storytimes and public meeting room use will be phased back in later, the county said. Masks are recommended for visitors.

Vailey Oehike, director of libraries for Multnomah County, praised the "new and innovative ways" the library served residents during the pandemic, but said staff have looked forward to reopening the doors.

Select branches throughout the county reopened briefly as cooling centers during the record-breaking heat wave in late June.

The libraries are reopening as the Summer Reading Program is in full swing. The program encourages reading during the summer to keep students engaged while school is out. It's free and open to children and adults. To learn more, visit the county's library website.


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