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NEWPORT — The Newport Public Library has closed its doors in compliance with coronavirus precautions, but the staff remains committed to providing people with reliable information and valuable services.
The library closed its doors to patrons on March 14, but at that time, people were still able to return library books at one of the drop boxes located outside the building. However, as of Monday, March 23, even these drop boxes are closed.
“We’re following the American Library Association’s stance on the book drop, as far as closing it, and then trying to limit the germs back and forth,” said Laura Kimberly, Newport Library director. “There’s so much information that’s going out about how long the virus is on surfaces.”
Also, with Gov. Kate Brown’s “Stay Home, Save Lives” order announced on Monday, “we’re trying to keep people at home,” Kimberly said. “There’s not going to be any fines or anything when we re-open.”
So for the time being, anyone who has checked out a library book should just hang onto it until the prohibition is lifted.
In the meantime, library staff is doing what it can to help people find activities to do while they are stuck at home.
“I’m pushing stuff on social media, getting resource lists, we’re trying to see what we can get as far as databases,” Kimberly said. “Some of the different databases that we normally wouldn’t be able to get because it was cost-prohibitive, they’re making their resources free to the public libraries right now.
“I’m doing the social media for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram,” she added, “and then I’m sharing everything I’m putting up with one of my librarians, and she’s making sure our resource lists are updated. We’re building lists of everything that’s out there.”
People have access to a variety of resources, such as audiobooks and videos, but there are other things available that might not immediately come to mind. People can take virtual tours of places like national parks or art museums. They can go on Disney World virtual rides or take a tour of the Winchester Mystery House. There are science experiments for kids, opera and ballet performances being streamed daily and even an opportunity to take part in a virtual dance party.
People wanting to learn more are encouraged to check out the Newport Public Library on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Or go on the library’s website at www.newportoregon.gov (click on “Departments” and then select “Library).”
There is also still an option for people who want to immerse themselves in the printed word.
“I’m trying to push the Little Free Libraries, too,” said Kimberly. Library staff will be stocking these free libraries in the community for as long as they are able, and for as long the free supply of books and magazines holds out. People can find one in their neighborhood and enjoy the pleasure of reading. They can leave a book if they wish.
Free Little Libraries in Newport are located at:
• Northeast San Bay-O Circle neighborhood;
• Yaquina View Elementary School, Southeast Harney Street;
• Sam Case Elementary School, Northeast 12th Street;
• First Presbyterian Church near the Newport Food Pantry, Northeast 12th Street;
• St. Stephens Episcopal Church, Southwest Ninth and Hurbert streets;
• Samaritan House, Southwest Bay Street;
• Newport Recreation Center, Southeast Avery Street;
• Oceanspray Family Center, Northwest Nye Street;
• Nye Beach neighborhood at Southwest Fourth Street and also at Southwest High and Southwest Second streets.