Two library buildings reopen to the public

Outer East Portland patrons are delighted that the Midland Regional Library, in the Mill Park neighborhood, is also for browsing and computing, along with the Holgate Branch Library …

It’s a happy day, when one of the first two Multnomah County Library buildings in outer East Portland finally reopened to the public on June 1st; this, the Midland Regional Library, and also the Holgate Branch Library.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Patrons of Multnomah County Library (MCL) were delighted to learn that several of their buildings reopened to the public on June 1st.

“Indeed, this is a big day for us; it is the first day that five of our public library locations are open for in-building access services,” exclaimed MCL Neighborhood Library Director Annie Lewis, in the Holgate Branch Library building.

Here, visiting the Holgate Branch Library soon after it reopened, is Multnomah County Library Neighborhood Library Director Annie Lewis.

Due to the pandemic, the library buildings closed their doors to the public in March of 2020. “But, that did not mean that our services to patrons ended,” Lewis assured East Portland News. “We started curbside ‘hold pickup’ service shortly after the closure.

“And, we’ve also been offering a lot of outreach services – delivering to locations outside of our physical buildings, to provide book access to communities,” Lewis pointed out. “Our digital [online offerings] circulation has increased significantly during COVID, as you might expect. We’ve increased the number of titles that are available to access digitally, as well as expanding our ‘virtual services’, including Online Storytimes events, online tutoring, and a number of different services.”

After months of preparation for the reopening, Holgate Library Administrator Silvana Gabriell announced that the building is ready again to receive visitors.

Standing next to one of the powerful-but-silent “air cleaners” is Holgate Library Administrator Silvana Gabriell.

“We’ve shifted around books and digital materials, like DVDs, within the stacks to make sure that when people come in, they have space for them to browse – yet remain properly distanced,” pointed out Gabriell.

She said they also changed their computer station layout as well, to maintain current COVID protocols.

Those wanting to use computers at the library will find that stations have been significantly spaced out, away from one another.

It was a lot of work for her and her staff, Gabriell asserted. “But, seeing how it went, and how many happy faces we’ve had, it’s really paid off. It was the best feeling in the world. People said they were so thankful to be able again to come in.”

This, and other library buildings permitting the public to enter, allow patrons to arrive in “shifts” that rotate throughout the day. The best way to find the current hours and days is to visit their website: CLICK HERE.

As COVID restrictions continue to change across Multnomah County in mid June, many patrons in other areas have been asking, “When will my library reopen?”

Other library buildings still closed
Multnomah County Library Director of Communications and Strategic Initiatives Shawn Cunningham responded, “As COVID levels are rapidly changing, we’re working to open other library buildings in our system. The County Library will open more buildings in phases, and expand services over time, as safety and public health considerations allow.”

© 2021 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™


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