Deschutes Public Library to begin reopening efforts last week of May

When the Deschutes Public Library closed its branches two months ago, more than 86,000 books were checked out.

Now, all those books need to be returned – and the library system has a plan.

The plan begins later this month and lays out three chapters that move the library toward a return to a “new normal” for its operations.

“The past two months have been unlike anything the country has ever experienced,” said library director Todd Dunkelberg. “In Deschutes County, and particularly here at Deschutes Public Library, our vibrant and welcoming culture was disrupted. We are used to putting books on hold, but few if any of us were prepared to put our lives on hold.”

Dunkelberg said the reopening plan will be rolled out in three chapters to ensure the safety of staff and customers alike.

CHAPTER 1: Return of materials and release of existing holds

1a: Return of materials. On Tuesday, May 26, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and on Saturday, May 30, from noon to 6:00 p.m. customers can drop off materials at all Deschutes Public Library locations. These designated dates and times will allow for the quarantine of returned library materials. Directional signage at each library will indicate exact drop-off locations and procedures.

1b: Pick up of existing holds. Beginning Tuesday, June 2, customers who had materials on hold before the March closure will be able to pick up those items. Pick up will be curbside only and items can only be picked up at the location where the hold was originally placed. Book drops will remain closed, but items may be dropped off curbside with staff during this time. Hours for pick up and continued drop off of materials are:

·        Downtown Bend Library, East Bend Library, Redmond Library

Monday–Saturday, 9:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m. (closed Sundays)

·        La Pine Library, Sisters Library, Sunriver Library

Tuesday–Saturday, 10:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m. (closed Sundays, Mondays)

 CHAPTER 2: Limited customer access to library buildings

The date for Chapter 2 will be determined by the Library Director and Board in consultation with government and public health officials. More information regarding its implementation will be made available as it is known.

 In Chapter 2, customers will have limited access into Library buildings and the number of people allowed in Library buildings at any one time will be restricted to facilitate physical distancing. Limited services will be available at this time, such as picking up newly requested holds and light browsing. Meeting and tutor rooms, public computers and children’s early learning spaces will remain closed. Programs, classes and events (story times, computer labs, lectures, etc.) as well as the processing of library cards will continue online only during this time. Summer with the Library (formerly the Summer Reading Program) will be online during July and August.

Modified hours will remain in place. In Chapter 2 the hours are as follows:

·        Downtown Bend Library, East Bend Library, Redmond Library

Monday–Saturday, 9:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m. (special hours for ages 60+ and immunocompromised individuals, from 9:00 a.m.-10:00 a.m.); closed Sundays

·        La Pine Library, Sisters Library, Sunriver Library

Tuesday–Saturday, 10:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.; closed Sundays, Mondays

CHAPTER 3: Increased access to buildings, resources and services

The date for Chapter 3 will be determined by the Library Director and Board in consultation with government and public health officials. Chapter 3 institutes a broader range of access to all Libraries, materials and services including more browsing and limited use of public computers. Modified hours will remain in place.

“Our goal is for staff and customers to feel safe and be safe when working in and browsing the library,” said Dunkelberg. “We are working with local- and state-level governments and health authorities to ensure that we are implementing their recommended best practices to minimize risk.”

Those practices include:

Face Coverings. All Deschutes Public Library staff members are required to wear face masks. Customers are encouraged but not required to wear face masks as a courtesy to staff and other members of the public.

Increased Cleanings. The Library’s janitorial service is contracted to work additional hours and pay particular attention to common surfaces such as handrails, doors, and handles. The Library also provides cleaning supplies for all workspaces and public service desk areas.

Hand Washing. While public restrooms will be closed during the initial phases of re-opening, outdoor hand-washing stations and hand sanitizer will be provided for Library customers. Staff have regular access to soap and warm water for hand washing. Gloves will be provided to staff for use during cleaning and disinfecting materials and workspaces.

Physical Distancing. Customers will be guided to maintain a six-foot distance between staff and other customers. Physical distancing areas will be clearly marked in spaces where the public tends to gather (e.g., service desks, check-out kiosks).

“These three chapters to re-opening provide safety-conscious steps that allow us to return to our libraries in a way that makes sense for staff and the public,” said Dunkelberg. “While we can’t predict what the future holds, we are optimistic that as conditions change and allow us to re-open, we will be prepared and ready.”

Library customers with questions about the phases or their accounts can call or text their question to (541) 617-0776.


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