County Librarian update on library services

Dear Library Community,

During these uncertain times, the Library is focused on providing important services that support the needs of families and of anyone struggling with access to resources due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The big increase in use of our digital resources these last several months is a strong indication we are on the right track. Since March, visits to content on the Library’s YouTube channel are up by more than 800 percent over the same time last year. Check outs of eBooks and eAudiobooks through OverDrive/Libby are up by 114 percent and visits to NewsBank to read the East Bay Times have increased by 231 percent.

With school starting for many families this month, a group of library staff is working to prepare a toolkit to help students, parents and teachers with distance learning. The toolkit will include descriptions and links to the free services available through the Library, like free online tutoring with Brainfuse. The plan is to provide needed access to resources that will supplement materials from schools and teachers.

Automatic renewals will launch this week. This new service will automatically renew library materials that have not been requested by another customer. Items will automatically be renewed two days before their due date. The new due date will be extended from the original due date, so you will still enjoy a full loan period after each automatic renewal. Items that have other holds, that have been renewed two times, eBooks and eAudiobooks are not eligible. Auto-renewal allows you to enjoy materials for a longer period of time without worry. 

You may be wondering if we are ordering new books as well. Yes, we are adding new titles and best sellers at all our libraries. During the shelter at home order, all the libraries and Library Administration were closed. We were unable to place orders, accept deliveries or prepare any books for distribution. Our collection management team is now working quickly to place orders and prepare materials so we can offer the latest and most popular books via Front Door Service. We will also continue to grow our digital collection offerings for those who prefer to stay home.

Though Library operations look different these days, we remain committed to delivering a high-quality of service on the phone, in Chat and at the front door and to protecting the health and safety of the staff and all of you.

Melinda Cervantes
County Librarian