A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Browsing the library shelves after Covid curbs

Written July 21st, 2021 by Hasso Hering

Inside the Carnegie library during the noon hour Wednesday. At the desk, Librarian Jason Darling.

What a treat it was Wednesday to be able to walk around inside the Carnegie Library in downtown Albany, without an appointment or time limit, browsing the shelves, looking for something to read.

After more than a year of being closed to the public and then open with only limited access because of Covid-19, the Albany Public Libraries reopened with new hours this week.

The Carnegie branch downtown now is open from 10 to 6 Wednesdays through Fridays and, for the first time on a regular basis, from 10 to 5 on Saturdays. From Sunday through Tuesday the place is closed.

The main library, on 14th Avenue at Davidson Street, is open 10-8 Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 10-6 on Thursdays and Fridays, and 10-5 on Satudays. It is closed on Sundays and Mondays.

The city libraries announced the new hours last week, and Wednesday I paid a visit to the downtown branch.

A woman and child were just leaving, both wearing face masks. But in the library masks are no longer required.

One person was using a computer.  Otherwise I had the place to myself.

Jason Darling, the librarian, says the lunch hour is normally quiet. Things will get busier in general as word gets around that the libraries are open without the previous Covid restrictions.

I had read a good review of the latest thriller by Brad Thor, “Near Dark,” and found a copy on the shelf. Never having read that author before, I also picked up his first, “The Lions of Lucerne,” which came out in 2002.

During most of the Covid shutdown, library books have been accessible via curbside pickup, and that program continues. But for me, that didn’t do it.

I like to pick up a book and open it up. Often you can tell from the first sentence or two whether a book is worth your time.  So the reopening of the shelves was very good news. (hh)

Just posing here: Hemingway’s not on my reading list. A little on the boring side, no?


The Carnegie Library downtown is where I went on Wednesday.





5 responses to “Browsing the library shelves after Covid curbs”

  1. DAVID SMITH says:

    SO very glad the libraries are open after all this time. Free to walk the aisles, browse, look at various and sundry titles. It is a lifeline to rationality and a means to fulfill the urge to explore, at least vicariously, the world around us. Hurrah, APL!

  2. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    At the risk of further irritating one particular Albany pundit who thinks I submit too much “race crap”, your article highlights an opportunity for the Albany libraries to improve their services as they re-open.

    A 2013 Pew Research study found that compared to whites, African-Americans and Hispanics are especially tied to their libraries and eager to see new services.


    “When it comes to future services, African-Americans and Hispanics are more likely than whites to support segregating library spaces for different services, having more comfortable spaces for reading, working and relaxing, offering more learning experiences similar to museum exhibits, helping users digitize material such as family photos or historical documents.”

    If the re-opening plan includes the services identified to satisfy this reality, kudos to the libraries. If not, an opportunity for improvement probably exists.

  3. Patricia Eich says:

    I used the curbside pickup many times over the last year and was very appreciative of the service. I have a used a Kindle for several years while traveling and recently began trying audio books. However,when I have the time and opportunity to sit down with a book in hand that is my preference. Among these three options I am currently “reading” four books.

  4. HowlingCicada says:

    For several reasons, not just vision problems, I’d be perfectly happy never seeing another printed sheet of paper for the rest of my life.

    Nevertheless, I used to like browsing libraries to discover new books. Libraries probably have better “curation” than most of the internet. They’re good for serendipity, and much faster than slogging one’s way through ever-slower and more gunked-up websites.

  5. HowlingCicada says:

    “””… masks are no longer required.”””

    I’ll bet that’s the ONLY message some people got from the latest CDC guidance.

    It’s why I won’t go anywhere indoors unless the need is high enough and the time chosen to minimize exposure risk (I’ve been fully vaccinated at the first opportunity).

    There are breakthrough cases among the fully vaccinated. But the real problem is that the same bunch of people:
    Don’t believe in vaccination.
    Don’t want to wear masks, or don’t believe they work.
    Don’t listen to anyone outside their own ignorant Facebook bubble.
    Don’t realize that infection rates are climbing, especially in places where more of their own group live.
    Think their own “freedom” is more important than the life and health of others.

    Consequently, “mask if you’re not vaccinated,” but no proof required or viable, is useless.

    “””The CDC Must Rethink Its Mask Guidance, Says Former U.S. Surgeon General”””

    Because Dr. Adams is not a Democrat, and not beholden to the current administration, he can tell it like it is without dancing around the issue the way I’ve heard repeatedly the last few days. I am more-or-less a Democrat and this whole episode pains me greatly.


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