The library maintains its position as vital community hub amid pandemic with both physical and virtual programs
Yolo County Library is now offering three new services, according to a Nov. 17 press release. The new services include one-hour computer appointments, email reference and contactless printing, copying and faxing.
These services are available during normal business hours: Monday from 4 to 8 p.m.; Wednesday from 2 to 6 p.m.; and Friday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The library space has been adjusted to comply with social distancing requirements, and restrooms will not be available to the public. Those who wish to use these services are required to wear face coverings and follow Yolo County’s COVID-19 guidelines.
Janney Duong, a third-year managerial economics major, explained that these resources could be very helpful, especially for those without regular access to them.
“I might take advantage of these services because I personally don’t have these resources at home,” Duong said. “When I was younger, I went to local community libraries in order to borrow books when I couldn’t afford titles to read. Libraries were a resource for me to use and a starting point for my passion for reading.”
West Sacramento Regional Manager for Yolo County Library Dana Christy explained that the decision to make more services available was in part due to community demand.
“The library is a very popular community hub throughout Yolo County,” Christy said. “Right now, we have seven different locations open for curbside pickup of library materials. While providing curbside pickup materials, we were getting some requests for other services that we offer—like faxing, photocopying and computer access.”
Christy explained that the library holds special importance for Yolo County community members, particularly in this time of isolation.
“It keeps people connected even though they’re by themselves through the sharing of information and entertainment,” Christy said. “It’s a place to get all your reading materials and DVDs. Especially now for those who do have connectivity, we offer a huge collection of ebooks and magazines. If not, you can still take advantage of the curbside pickup. People love to read in Yolo County. The library in Davis is really popular.”
Beyond giving Yolo residents the ability to check out books, Christy explained that the library is important to the community on many different levels, as the library provides digital services such as providing hotspots and Chromebooks to Yolo County residents who do not have the ability to go online at home.
“There is still a digital divide in Yolo County,” Christy said. “The library is often where people can go for these services, so we figured out how we could provide those safely and we just launched those a couple weeks ago. This is in addition to our e-book services, which are available to individuals with library cards online or through the Libby app.”
In addition to these digital services, the library offers a variety of virtual services for parents and children.This includes storytimes—available in both English and Spanish—as well as early literacy programs.
“We’re offering virtual programs for parents with young kids,” Christy said. “It’s a great option for parents who are looking for materials for their children, or new activities for their kids.”
Christy explained that while there are currently no major plans to expand services due to Yolo County’s recent move into the purple tier, many community members are taking advantage of the available services, and the library intends to keep providing them for as long as official health guidelines allow.
“We have new people coming and our regulars who came before the lockdown—it’s a broad mix and a lot of people are taking advantage of [our services],” Christy said. “Right now, we are holding steady with what we have, given the move to the purple tier in Yolo County, but we’re closely watching the Public Health Officers’ guidance and we’ll follow accordingly.”
Currently, the Yolo County library employs 17 full time staff; however, most of the volunteer positions are currently unavailable. Christy recommended that individuals who are interested in getting involved contact the Friends of the Library program or call (530) 666-8005.
“For the most part, unfortunately, volunteers have had to wait in the wings until we can open our branches up again,” Christy said. “Most of our volunteer positions were in-person. Davis is still doing outdoor book sales and processing of book-donations, so there are still opportunities for those who want to be involved and help the library.”
Whether it be a book, digital access or a new activity for your kids, the library has a variety of solutions, Christy explained.
“Ultimately I just want people to know that the library is there for you—whether you can make it to the branch or not,” Christy said.
Written by: Yan Yan Hustis Hayes — firstname.lastname@example.org