Yesterday afternoon, both the City of Berkeley's Public Health Officer and City Manager issued guidance to cancel or postpone all non-essential group events - specifically those in which large numbers of people are within arm's length of one another - to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus in our community.
While there are only two COVID-19 cases in Berkeley and both are travel-related, patron and staff safety is the City's and the Library's priority. Berkeley's Public Health Officer, Dr. Hernandez is clear: "The time to act is now. These measures have the power to slow the virus' spread."
In accordance with this guidance, beginning tomorrow, March 12th, 2020 the Library is cancelling or postponing all community programs, classes, and events, including community use of meeting rooms, through March 31.
Note that one-on-one programs such as tax help and literacy tutoring will continue as scheduled until further notice. If you have questions about a particular event or about checked out items, please call any of our facilities. For potential cancellation of events in April, staff will assess conditions throughout the next few days and weeks and update the online calendar accordingly. We apologize for the inconvenience. We know how important many of these programs are for you and others.
This is a rapidly changing situation and the Library will continue to provide updates on how we are supporting community safety while continuing to provide services in promotion of community access, learning and literacy.
Safety Measures in Place
Keeping you safe is our priority and the Library has undertaken many steps to ensure a safe environment:
Signage with recommendations on how to stay healthy and prevent the spread of COVID-19 at all library locations.
Elevated cleaning and sanitizing measures in all public areas; twice-daily disinfection of "high touch" areas including desk surfaces, door handles, touchscreens and keyboards in all Library facilities.
Removal of "high touch" items from service such as headphones, board games, pillows, plush animals and toys. At this time the Library is continuing to offer access to public computers and laptops.
Ongoing communications this winter to Library staff on ways to help prevent the spread of the flu, colds and coronavirus.
Handwashing stations installed in front of each facility to promote and encourage community hygiene practices.
Library Access from Home
With digital services from Berkeley Public Library, card holders have 24/7 free access to books, audiobooks, magazines, movies, classes and more.
Find out more about our numerous resources from the Downloads & Streaming page. Some of our most popular services include the following:
Streaming music is available from Hoopla as well as from Naxos, which includes classical, jazz and world music, and Alexander Street, which features contemporary world music, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings and more.
The Berkeley Public Health Department confirmed this week that expanded presence of coronavirus is a reality. While there are no confirmed cases of community spread in Berkeley at this point, it will happen eventually.
It’s important that everyone take action to slow the spread. This will help relieve pressure on medical resources and health care providers.
Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds. That’s about the length of time it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” twice.
Avoid touching your face, especially with unwashed hands.
Clean frequently touched surfaces like doorknobs, light switches, tables, phones, and keyboards daily using a regular household detergent and water.
Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then immediately throw it away. If you don’t have a tissue, cover your cough with your elbow rather than your hand.
When you’re sick, avoid school, work, and public places (for example, the Library!) Stay home except to get medical care.