Library News for September 2021

Dear Valued Library Patron,

We have already seen several days in Contra Costa County with poor air quality due to wildfires burning in Northern California and across the western United States this summer. Unfortunately, I fear we will see many more smoky days as we get into late summer and fall.

Last year our libraries were forced to close on several occasions when the air quality index for particulate matter reached the unhealthy level of more than 150. At that time, the libraries were only offering Front Door Service, which meant staff were exposed to unhealthy air for long periods of time while working at library entrances. This, coupled with the worldwide shortage of N95 masks, meant there were times we needed to close libraries to ensure staff safety.

Since we are no longer in Front Door Service mode and all staff have access to N95 masks this year, our libraries will remain open during poor air quality events (barring any unforeseen circumstances). We will continue to hope for clean air and an end to wildfires and drought, but in the meantime, please don’t hesitate to come visit us.

Contra Costa County has resources available to help prepare you, your family, and neighbors in the event of a wildfire. Get tips on how to create an evacuation plan, what to pack in your go bag, how to protect your pets and how to sign up to receive emergency alerts. Visit for more information.

Please stay safe and healthy.


Alison McKee
County Librarian