Scappoose Public Library striving to serve patrons during pandemic
Along with everyone else, the Scappoose Public Library is adjusting to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Celebrating its 91st anniversary this month, the library is still serving patrons, but in a more limited way.
Describing the amenities, library director Jeff Weiss said, "We have the normal assortment of books, videos, video games. We have a meeting room, which we obviously aren't letting people use right now."
Some programs are not being held as the library navigates through the pandemic.
"Before the pandemic, we had a lot of children and adult programming, but that all stopped as of March," Weiss said.
Currently, the library is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.
"We prefer that people make a reservation either through our website (scappooselibrary.org) or by calling us first, because we're limiting the number of people who can be in the building at once," Weiss said. "And we're definitely limiting groups of people in different areas."
As an example, one family may be allowed in the children's book section.
Librarians are also accommodating patrons who aren't comfortable going into the building themselves.
"We still do the stuff that we did for a couple of months this spring where if people call, we can deliver stuff out to their car, or they can come to the back door," Weiss said.
He added, "They can either put stuff on hold through the online catalogue at the website, or they can call," noting residents can apply through the website for a library card.
The Scappoose Library has nearly 35,000 physical items, according to Weiss. These include books, DVDs, computers, tablets and books on tape.
Patrons can access computers at the library, but the protocol has changed.
"Right now, we have four; we normally have 10 public computers in house," Weiss said. "We just bought five laptop computers that we're going to circulate."
Describing how the pandemic has affected the library, Weiss said, "Foot traffic has declined quite a bit, but our actual circulation has only declined about 20%."
Weiss added, "When I look at statistics for other libraries in our area, I think it's kind of interesting that we have not lost a lot of business. We used to see between 200 and 300 people in the library every day."
Currently, there are about 100 patrons per day.
Weiss is confident the library can weather the pandemic.
"I've always been the kind of person who spends less than the budget. We do have a cash cushion to help make it through this if there is a decline in tax revenue," he said.
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