Providing library services during the COVID-19 pandemic

Your library is here for you. Though library buildings are closed due to COVID-19, Multnomah County Library continues to expand available library services. While not a complete list, here are some of the ways the library continues to serve the community:

Connecting online and by phone

  • Staffing phone lines, email and chat services so you can contact the library to get help with research and information needs, account services, booking appointments and more.  
  • Planning and presenting online storytimes in multiple languages.
  • Giving presentations about how to use the library during pandemic.
  • Providing online technology support to seniors and people whose first language is not English.
  • Providing personalized reading recommendations through My Librarian. 
  • Transitioning free, in-person one-on-one GED tutoring and adult literacy tutoring to an online and phone format.

Delivering services in-person

  • Offering curbside pickup of holds at all 19 library locations, and returns for books and other items.
  • Continually reviewing and updating our safety and operational procedures to ensure materials are quarantined and staff can work distanced and safely in spaces. 
  • Offering free, unlimited mobile/wifi printing at all 19 library locations.
  • Supporting Multnomah County’s COVID-19 emergency response.

Working with community partners

  • Giving away free books to community partners through K-12 schools, Multnomah Education Service District, Multnomah County Library summer lunch sites, affordable housing sites, culturally specific organizations and other community based organizations. 
  • Delivering library and education materials to adults in custody at Inverness Jail, Multnomah County Detention Center and the Columbia River Correctional Institute.
  • Offering virtual storytimes and parent groups in collaboration with WIC and many community based early learning programs. 
  • Working to modify and restore services to people experiencing houselessness. 
  • Adapting the Every Child a Reader program for the school year. This program serves nearly 8,000 children through partnerships with 28 partner agencies. 
  • Adapting a new model to service students in juvenile detention access learning and library resources. 
  • Loaning chromebooks and wifi hotspots to loan for extended periods through specific library programs and established community programs. 
  • Providing tubs of books to Emergency Child Care providers.

Expanding library access and content

  • Permanently removing library fines for all library materials and implementing automatic renewal of items. 
  • Increasing access to digital content by purchasing more copies of digital titles, including providing unlimited access to popular antiracism books and other titles.
  • Offering streaming music from local musicians through the Library Music Project and to local authors through the Library Writers Project
  • Expanding library access to 80,000 K-12 students in five school districts across Multnomah County, as part of the new Library Connect program.
  • Updating library software to accommodate the numerous virtual programs and in-person appointment booking needs.
  • Contacting patrons who are homebound or living in retirement facilities to check in and help convert their library accounts to receiving books by mail or home delivery. 

Building a calendar of online programs

  • Presenting numerous online programs including storytimes, technology help, social justice programs, makerspace workshops and more. 

Helping parents and kids prepare for distance learning

  • Recommending free online tutoring resources.
  • Offering online workshops for K-5 educators with curated booklists. 
  • Creating early literacy videos for parents
  • Supporting early childhood educators and families with monthly newsletters.
  • Providing book recommendations for parents to supplement their children’s reading. 
  • Adapting the Early Kindergarten Transition program from in-person to a new model of providing library information and gift books as well as early literacy videos that will be shared with parents of incoming kindergartners at over 40 schools in Multnomah County. 
  • Presenting Listos para el kínder online. Listos is a youth services program for Spanish-speaking children aged three to five and their parents. Sessions are conducted entirely in Spanish, and teachers emphasize early learning skills, such as pre literacy, early math, self-regulation, and interpersonal skills. Parents are encouraged to observe how their children learn best and how to build confidence and connection with their children as they grow.
  • Providing online programs to help parents and caregivers as they support students in online learning environments.

Supporting educators and students

  • Extended loan periods and increased quantities of holds for library educator accounts.
  • Sending newsletters featuring content specific to K-3, 4-8 and 9-12th grade educators.
  • Offering specialized booklists, weblists, and physical materials to support curriculum. 
  • Offering live virtual or video presentations and book talks. 
  • Offering customized and culturally specific services available upon request, including presentations in Spanish.