Providing library services during the COVID-19 pandemic

Your library is here for you. Though our buildings are closed due to the unpredictable and harmful spread of COVID-19, Multnomah County Library has been expanding existing services and standing up new ones to ensure you can access library services when you need us most. While not a complete list, and we are adding more services, here are some of the ways we are continuing to serve the community: 

Delivering services in-person

  • Offering curbside pickup of holds at all 19 library locations, and opening book drops for patrons to return items.
  • Updating our safety and operational procedures to ensure materials are quarantined and staff can work distanced and safely in spaces. 
  • Adding outdoor computer lab access at Midland, Gresham and Rockwood libraries. 
  • Offering free, unlimited mobile/wifi printing at all 19 library locations.
  • Supporting Multnomah County’s emergency response by working in emergency shelters and public information roles; providing translation services; coordinating countywide volunteers and donations of PPE; and donating and delivering supplies for emergency operations, including more than 800 face shields, 3000 face coverings, and 140 prototype window face coverings made at the Rockwood Library makerspace for distribution through community programs and among library employees.

Working with community partners

  • Providing free grab and go summer lunches to youth at Gresham, Midland Rockwood libraries. 
  • Giving away free books to community partners through the Multnomah Education Service District, Multnomah County Library summer lunch sites, Home Forward, and 16 Portland Parks summer lunch sites.Over 12,000 books have been delivered so far!
  • Delivering library and education materials to adults in custody at Inverness Jail and the Multnomah County Detention Center.
  • Offering virtual storytimes and parent groups in collaboration with WIC and Morrison Child and Family Services.
  • Supporting Multnomah County Elections and Census work.
  • Working on restoring shelter service and other services to people experiencing houselessness. 
  • Adapting the Every Child a Reader program for the coming school year. This program serves nearly 8,000 children through partnerships with 28 partner agencies. The library is adapting the program to safely deliver books to the children enrolled in the program. 
  • Adapting a new model to service students in juvenile detention access learning and library resources. 

Connecting virtually 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 virtual storytimes in multiple languages.
  • Calling and contacting patrons who are homebound or living in retirement facilities to check in and help convert their library accounts to receiving books by mail.
  • Giving virtual presentations about how to use the library during pandemic.
  • Providing virtual technology support to seniors and people whose first language is not English.
  • Providing personalized reading recommendations through My Librarian. 
  • Transitioning our free, in-person one-on-one GED tutoring and adult literacy tutoring to a virtual and phone format. 

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 promoting our latest Library Writers Project title with Ooligan Press, Iditarod Nights
  • Offering library access to every David Douglas student through a new Library Connect program.
  • Updating library software to accommodate the numerous virtual programs and in-person appointment booking needs.
  • Exploring opportunities to purchase wifi hotspots and chromebooks for checking out to library patrons.

Building a calendar of virtual programs

  • Transitioning our popular youth Summer Reading program and Read 4 Life adult Summer Reading programs to a virtual and at-home format with prizes mailed to participants.
  • Presenting numerous virtual programs including a Building Bridges Racial Justice Series, Chinese Family Playtime, Black Resistance in Queer Liberation and Drag Queen Storytime.
  • Adapting the library’s popular annual Día de los niños/Día de los libros program to a virtual format. 

Helping parents and kids prepare for distance learning

  • Recommending free online tutoring resources.
  • Offering virtual workshops for K-5 educators with curated booklists. 
  • Creating early literacy videos for parents.
  • Supporting early childhood educators and parents through a virtual monthly newsletter.
  • 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 virtually. 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.