Deschutes Public Library Limits Programs, Increases Digital Collection Amid Coronavirus Concerns
Posted By: Tina Walker Davis
Date Posted: 3/12/2020
UPDATE: All Deschutes Public Library locations will be closed to the public starting Tuesday, March 17; we are tentatively planning to reopen on April 1, but will consult with regional health authorities at that time. Find more information about the closure here.
Deschutes Public Library takes the health and safety of our staff and community seriously. The library continues to monitor recent cases of COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest and has established public health and safety best practices to minimize the spread of communicable disease. The library is committed to doing all it can to protect its customers and staff. In light of recent developments, and the governor’s call to limit public gatherings, Deschutes Public Library will suspend all programming and outreach activities, and cancel public meeting room reservations, beginning Friday, March 13. The library plans to resume programming and outreach on April 13, but will reassess the status of public health and safety at that time. Programming includes all classes, lectures, story times, and workshops. Library outreach to schools, day care centers and senior living communities is suspended until Monday, April 13.
While public programming is cancelled, many of the library’s programs will be made available via Facebook livestream, and story times will be available on the library’s website. Please refer to the library’s website and Facebook page for a list of livestream and video programs. One-on-one programs, such as Thrive Central Oregon and Lawyer in the Library, will continue.
While all libraries remain open with regular hours (www.deschuteslibrary.org/about/libraries/), Deschutes Public Library also offers a wealth of free online resources that the public can access from home or anywhere they happen to be with an internet connection. This includes eBooks and audio books, streaming movies and television shows, digital magazines and music, information databases, and more. The library is increasing its collection of digital materials, such as eBooks and digital audiobooks, during this time. Visit www.deschuteslibrary.org/books/downloads for more information.
The information below is intended to provide additional guidance and information to staff and community in light of heightened COVID-19 concerns. The library maintains the following general precautions:
- The library’s cleaning staff will take extra care to disinfect all surfaces regularly; janitorial hours have been extended at all library locations until further notice
- Disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer are available for customers, staff and volunteers to use in the library; staff will notify janitorial services if soap or sanitizer dispensers need to be refilled
- Staff will wash their hands with warm soap and water (for 20 seconds) and use hand sanitizer regularly throughout the day, and will avoid touching their faces
- Staff will be proactive in wiping down their work area, including computer accessories, throughout the day; for those sharing work spaces, staff will wipe down equipment between shifts
- Staff will wear disposable gloves in areas such as materials processing
During this time, the library asks that if staff or volunteers, or someone in their household, experiences symptoms of the coronavirus—such as fever, cough or shortness of breath—that they do not come to work and that they contact their health care provider for information on next steps. Likewise, the library asks the community to follow the same precautions. For those without a primary care physician, information on free or income-based health services can be found at www.freeclinics.com/cit/or-bend.
The library is currently operating at Level 2 of its public health management plan, which includes the following protocols:
- All library programs, outreach events and meeting room reservations will be cancelled or rescheduled
- Cleaning protocols will be reviewed and certain heavy use areas targeted for additional deep cleaning
- Early learning spaces will be closed to the public
- Open hours may be reduced, but all employees will be required to report to work when assigned
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states that COVID-19 does not survive well on surfaces, but is spread most often by small droplets of mucus from the nose and throat. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus, which is why diligent hand washing and sanitizing are so important. However, in addition to fastidious hand washing, the CDC also recommends the following to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
- Stay home when you are sick
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe
The CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask, as the supply of facemasks is crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings. The agency recommends facemasks be worn by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent its spread.
For additional health and safety information, visit: