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Fort Bragg Library and Covid-19

Fort Bragg Library and Covid-19

Updates below, in RED

March 25, 2020

ALL LIBRARY FACILITIES CLOSED: EFFECTIVE WEDNESDAY, MARCH 18, 2020

We know how important the Library’s collections, programs, and facilities are for you. The Fort Bragg Branch of Mendocino County Library is one of the busiest libraries in the county. Fort Bragg uses and loves its Library and we are dedicated to continuing to serve you. Below, you’ll find our responses to the most frequently asked questions. If you need further assistance, we are here for you to call (707-964-2020) or email (fortbraggbranchlibrary@gmail.com), M-F, 10-5.

FAQs:

How long will the Library be closed?

Per the Shelter in Place Order, the Library will be closed until the order is lifted. The rapidly changing pace of the response to COVID-19 by the County of Mendocino and the State of California means we do not yet know how long the Library will be closed, nor do we know the extent of the emergency period in general. We will continue to provide updates here on our website, on our Facebook page and via the Library’s e-newsletter.

What Library resources can I access while Library locations are closed?

The Library’s abundant digital offerings, including eBooks, eAudiobooks, streaming movies, research databases and digital newspapers are available to you 24/7 with your library card. In addition, we offer many opportunities for eLearning. Build valuable job skills, learn a new language, support home-schooling efforts, and more – all from your personal device or computer.

Can I check out more eBooks and eAudiobooks while the Library is closed?

No. But each family member can apply for an eCard from Mendocino County Library to access our online resources so you can maximize your reading, listening, and viewing experiences from home:

OverDrive: You can check out 8 books and reserve 5 titles in OverDrive. We are purchasing new titles daily and offer a large library of e-books and e-audiobooks for you to choose from.

Hoopla: Checkout limit is 4 items  per month in Hoopla. Hoopla offers music, books, and videos on all types of subjects, such as fitness at home, with no waiting and no holds.

Kanopy: On Kanopy, our limit is 10 movies a month. Kanopy Kids, which has a variety of educational and entertaining movies and videos, is also available.

Please do not apply for an eCard if you already have a library card. New eCards are for first time patrons only.

What if my items are due during the closure? Will I accrue late fees?

All physical materials have extended due dates. If the shelter in place orders are extended, so will our due dates extend. You will have plenty of time after we reopen to return materials without fines. We are now taking curbside returns, Tues-Fri, 11 am – 3 pm at the Community Room door. Place your returns on the cart outside. We will quarantine them for 3 -5 days before checking them in. 

Can I drop off my materials in the Library’s book drops?

No. Book drops are closed. Please do not attempt to return materials until further notice. Do not leave materials outside of the library; you will be held responsible for the cost of the items if you do so. We will let you know when the book drops reopen. In the meantime, your materials’ loan periods have been extended through April 20, 2020.

Why don’t you offer curbside check-outs? We do! Here’s the process.

The great concern is exchanging physical material and bringing people in contact during the critical period when COVID-19 cases are increasing. (The risk may increase very quickly or slowly subside, but library visits shouldn’t contribute to the risk.)

  • Physical Proximity: While our county’s reported numbers are low, there is constant influx of people from outside–especially Fort Bragg Library users who often travel overseas. The transient population–whether homeless or tourists–may be recent arrivals from places with much higher cases of the virus. Inviting people to exchange books undoes the “abundant caution” achieved by shelter-in-place.
  • Contaminated Materials:Though risk of contamination from physical material may be low, it still exists. We currently have no process to sterilize physical books, DVDs, library cards, or librarian hands between patrons. (Various libraries in the Midwest tried curbside service but they’ve closed it down as the perceived risks increased and more people got ill in their communities.)  

How are libraries different from stores? At this point in time, we have been deemed as non-essential services for the protection of both patrons and staff. Another difference is that our material is exchanged among people rather than for final sale and consumption by a store’s customer: a circular arrow rather than a straight one. 

Why can’t I place holds on materials in the catalog? You can! Now you can request items through the Find! catalog and pick them up Curbside when they arrive. Here’s how it works.

Due to the shelter in place order, the Library cannot process holds of physical items until that order is lifted because Library staff are currently assigned to essential, disaster service work or are sheltering in place. If you want to keep track of materials so you can place holds at a later time, we recommend using the catalog’s “My Lists” feature, which allows you to create and save lists of materials for later review and access. To learn how, read the section on “My Lists” on our Catalog Help page. (FYI—make sure you select Wish List or make yourself a customized list. If you place titles in the Temporary List, they will disappear)

What if some of my holds made prior to the shelter in place order are ready for pick up? When Curbside Pickup started, all patrons with pre-closure holds were called to arrange for pick-up. If we were unable to contact you or if the items weren’t picked up in a reasonable amount of time, they were returned to their home libraries.

Good news! Items are now request-able through our catalog, again, so you can re-request an item if you missed it the first time through. Here’s the process for Curbside Requests.

They will remain on the hold shelf for you and we will provide plenty of time to pick them up after we reopen. Please disregard the Pick-Up By Date listed in your holds notice.

I have a question about my account. Is there anyone who can help me?

If you have any questions about your account, you can call the library, 707-964-2020 between the hours of 10 am and 5 pm Monday-Friday.  We will respond to inquiries as best we can. However, please realize that your questions may not be immediately answered due to the current conditions. Library staff are currently assigned to essential, disaster service work or are sheltering in place.

I have a digital and/or online resource question. Is there anyone who can help me?

If you have any questions about our online resources or digital download issues, you can call the library between the hours of 10 am and 5 pm Monday-Friday. Alternatively, you can email fortbraggbranchlibrary@gmail.com and we’ll try to answer your questions to the best of our ability. You can also access the Help link of each of our digital apps by going to fortbragglibrary.org, select the tab Using the Library then click on eBooks and Entertainment. You will find all of  the Help links there.

Are other County of Mendocino facilities and services affected too?

Yes. For the latest updates from the County of Mendocino, please read the news releases available here: https://www.mendocinocounty.org/community/novel-coronavirus.

Reliable Information

Misinformation can be rampant during a crisis. In addition to the County of Mendocino website, the following resources contain reliable information on COVID-19 coronavirus:

We understand how difficult this time is for many of you. We, like you, cannot wait for this crisis to end, however, this is the time we, as a community, must come together by staying apart. Collective action will help lessen the wave of community spread. Stay home, follow the guidelines put out by County of Mendocino Public Health; share updates from credible resources to avoid misinformation; and enjoy the e-resources your Library card provides access to 24/7.

If you find that you absolutely must have a physical book in hand to get you through the isolation, we recommend you support local bookstores. Most are offering order by mail with discounted shipping for the duration of the shelter in place order. Update: We now offer fulfillment of catalog requests via Curbside Pickup and Returns. Check out how it works here.

Thank you for your support and understanding as we all work together to help keep one another safe. We are looking forward to welcoming you back through our doors when we reopen. In the meantime, we will continue to provide updates on our website, Facebook and via our MailChimp eNewsletter.

If you have questions not answered above, please give us a call or email us. We’ll do our best to answer your questions as soon as we can.

While you’re here, on the website, please take some time to explore your Fort Bragg Library online. It’s chock-full of fun and informative links all in one place! Check us out! You might learn something new today.