Berkeley Public Library Response to COVID-19: April Updates
As we enter our second month of unprecedented collective action to protect one another’s health, I would like to take a moment to thank those community members working in essential occupations for their contributions. This includes our emergency workers, health workers, custodians, cashiers, sanitation workers, facility maintenance workers, and so many more.
Among those essential workers are a good number of Berkeley Public Library staff.
Library staff have joined with other City Departments to expand access to food, water, shelter, and bathroom facilities for community members. Library staff are also providing vital logistical and administrative support to ensure an adequate and effective local response to the COVID-19 health emergency.
Simultaneously, the Library continues to work to provide you with access to reading, culture, and information to the extent possible during this crisis.
This includes offering hundreds of new eAudiobook and eBook titles; expanding access to independent films and music; and identifying new ways to serve your informational interests and needs.
Many of you may be wondering: what is next in this ever changing crisis? When will the Library reopen?
We are preparing for numerous scenarios, all rooted in the health orders and guidelines from the City of Berkeley's Public Health Officer. Protecting one another remains our highest priority and guiding principle and we will continue to provide updates as next steps unfold.
On behalf of the Berkeley Public Library,
Elliot Warren Acting Director of Library Service
Library Staff are Disaster Service Workers
City of Berkeley Municipal Code requires all City staff, including Library staff, to provide disaster assistance.
We couldn't be prouder to serve Berkeley in these new and unprecedented ways.
For the last six weeks Library staff have been assigned to a variety of duties including:
Supporting emergency operations for Berkeley's most vulnerable populations, including the shower program for unhoused community members and delivering meals for seniors.
Delivering personal protective equipment to first responders and other City staff in the field.
Helping protect and maintain City infrastructure, property, and equipment.
Working in the City's Emergency Operations Center and Joint Information Center
Providing IT support across City Departments
Reviewing grant applications for the small business fund managed by the City's Office of Economic Development
Providing local businesses with necessary information to support compliance with public health orders
We have expanded your Hoopla check-out limit! You can now borrow up to 10 items per month with no holds and no waiting! (Be sure to clear your internet browser's cache if you are not seeing the expanded limit.)
Know someone who needs a Berkeley Public Card? Let them know we have just launched an e-card service so they can immediately access our online materials and resources 24/7 on smart phones, tablets, computers and smart TVs.
Overdrive offers filtering options by grade level or reading category that can be helpful for parents and caretakers. You can also search Overdrive using Lexile and ATOS reading level search options.
My son is 10, and he is a voracious reader. We were at a loss when the Library closed, so we shifted gears, bought a Kindle, and he is now dependent on Overdrive and Hoopla. In fact, I don’t know where we’d be without your services. Thank you for all you do at the Library!
-Jacqueline Park, Berkeley
Resources for children as well as child-appropriate sections of other eContent can be found on our e-Library Kids page.
BPL & BUSD Partnership
Through a Berkeley Public Library and Berkeley Unified School District (BUSD) partnership, BUSD students in grades 3-12 can access e-books and e-audiobooks with their BUSD email address and Overdrive's app, Sora.
The app is filled with great reads and even has a font optimized for dyslexic readers.
Plug the teens in your life into the Library:
e-Library for teens is filled with materials curated just for them: e-books, e-audiobooks, e-graphic novels, music and more.
No one is immune from #COVID19, but people over 60 and those with underlying health conditions have a greater chance of becoming seriously ill. If you're a higher risk, take extra precautions to keep yourself safe.
The City of Berkeley's Aging Services team has advice:
Be seen. Be Heard. Be Counted.
Census data will inform decisions and direct resources for the next 10 years. If you don't get counted, our whole community misses out.
With the support of the Berkeley Public Library Foundation and its donors, and from Library Tax funding received in previous fiscal years, the Library began improvements to sections of the Central Library's first and second floors earlier this year.
Construction work was put on hold as of Friday, April 17, 2020 to comply with the City of Berkeley Public Health order. However, other non-construction work is progressing.
The Library, in collaboration with the City's Public Works department, will continue to monitor developments in regards to the Shelter-in-Place order as it impacts construction work.
Once the Library is given the go-ahead, we will immediately mobilize to restart construction work.
News from the Friends of the Berkeley Public Library
The Friends bookstores will remain closed according to the COVID-19 guidelines, and will open when it is deemed safe for Berkeley Public Library to open to the public. If folks have been cleaning out their bookshelves, the Friends will be happy to accept their donations once the stores reopen. And, the Friends will be very happy to see their customers once again.
-Rosemary Hardy, President
News from the Berkeley Public Library Foundation
The Library Foundation continues to raise funds to support the Berkeley Public Library during this global crisis. Together we’ll ensure the Library is ready for all when the buildings re-open.
- Kathy Huff, Executive Director
Reliable Information and Updates throughout COVID-19
During times of crisis, it can be daunting to find reliable sources of information.
For trustworthy information about Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the latest from the City of Berkeley please refer to: