The Contra Costa County library system is going far beyond offering increased access to eBooks and video storytime while branches are closed. The library is also providing space, staff and technology to help in the county’s emergency response to COVID-19.
The library’s WiFi is available from the parking lots of many of the branches. For families without Internet service, it may provide needed support for homeschooling, access to social services or connections to loved ones. Though the WiFi is on at all branches, the distance from the parking lot to the library buildings varies by location and signal strength may be impacted.
The Pinole Library’s lobby and meeting room are temporarily being used as a state-run testing site for COVID-19. Since all library locations are closed in accordance with the county health order, county administration and library leadership agreed that the testing site is an important service to the community. The walk-up testing site is by appointment only. Visit coronavirus.cchealth.org/get-tested for information.
The library is also using its technology resources to help supply critically needed masks to first responders and other essential workers in the community. The library is using three 3D printers to mass produce Montana masks and mask clips. The Montana mask has the ability to extend a single surgical mask into six uses and is reusable. The clips connect elastic to surgical masks. So far, the library has printed 28 masks and 1,600 clips.
Members of the library staff are being deployed as disaster service workers in many ways across the county. Staffers are helping collect donations of personal protective equipment (PPE) and child-care supplies, training to perform contact tracing in the months ahead and providing needed resources in the county’s Emergency Operations Center.
“We want to support the county’s emergency response efforts in any way we can,” said county librarian Melinda Cervantes. “We have buildings, technology and people who can provide critical support in the fight to reduce the spread of COVID-19.”
Library staff is working to increase the eBook collections, create fresh online content and events and curate booklists. Visit ccclib.org to sign up for a library card and get connected to books and resources.
For questions about library services, programming or account information, contact the library via online chat or text questions to 925-290-7627. Both services are available 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday.
For the latest information about COVID-19 in Contra Costa County, visit contracostahealth.org.