Friends of the Library during the pandemic

Like so many endeavors, Friends activities have greatly changed to help cope with the pandemic.

The Library closed to the public in March, making the used book sale in April and this month impossible. 

If you picture our typical book sale in the Rogers Room—crowds of people gathered indoors to handle thousands of books, assisted by volunteers, most of whom are over 60—it is obvious that we could not have followed Covid19 protection protocols.   Whether we will be able to hold a sale in the Spring of 2021 remains a question.  We have more than 400 boxes of books, sorted by category for the sale, in storage.

During the closure, library staff continues to work in the Library.  In June, Friends volunteers joined them.  To maintain social distancing, we are allowed one Friends volunteer at a time to work on the mezzanine, in the Friends work area.  

We resumed book sales online in June.  Business has been good.  The June through September sales in 2020 are more than 50% greater than those in the same months of 2019.

The Library started accepting book donations in August.  Along with all materials coming into the Library, donations must be quarantined for 5 days.  After that, library staff looks through the donations for books they want to add to the Library’s collection.  Then Friends checks the books against the Amazon database, listing those valued at over $8 if they are in good enough condition. 

We are also setting aside books in good condition for several purposes:

  1. Distribution to the little libraries in the community,
  2. Grab bags of children’s books that will be labeled by reading level,
  3. Future book cart sales in the Library,
  4. Books to offer teachers for their in-class libraries

To help with online sales and these other objectives, we need donations of books in good condition.  There is a bin for book donations near the southeast entrance to the Library.  If you have more than a couple of bags of donations, please call Mike Smith, 503 530-9353, to schedule your donation.

Friends have funded library outreach efforts during the pandemic.  For the Summer Reading Program, library staff assembled pizza boxes of books for young readers.  Over 1700 were passed out at the back door of the Library and 300+ more were distributed at outreach sites including the free meals programs in the parks.  Twelve hundred “Take and Make” kits were also distributed.  More of these will be sent out, coordinated with the schools.