Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the Libraries

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Library Services Updates as of July 6th

Holds pickup service now available. Returns accepted during holds pickup hours. Learn more about our current services, including document printing, browsing assistance, and more!

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Message  from Peter Leonard, Executive Director, updated June 22, 2020

Dear Friends,

Holds service turned on. Beginning June 22, users may place holds for library items at The holds system through our county is complex and involves multiple libraries and a centralized courier system. Since libraries are at different stages of reopening and all returns must be quarantined for 72 hours, delivery will be slower than it was before the pandemic. The automatic holds notification system will not be turned on until most libraries reach a common service level. Each library will be contacting their borrowers when holds are available and arrange the pickup process. Libraries will first focus on fulfilling holds for their users from their own local collections. This initial process is not as robust as our users experienced in the past, but a measured approach at this time keeps the system sustainable.

Your libraries set up safety protocols for staff to work in the building. Physical distancing, mask wearing, work team scheduling, enhanced cleaning and quarantining are all part of the new systems put into place. New books that were ordered in March were delivered and are now being processed.

A new system for contactless pickup. We are using an appointment model because we can serve many more users than the “call a number when you arrive” model that may be used by other businesses. During this first stage of offering in-person services, in-library use will not be available. Libraries are not allowed to offer in-library services until Phase 2 of the Governor’s reopening plan. Cedar Mill and Bethany are still devising plans for limited in-library use, but rollout will only happen if it can be done safely without endangering users or staff.

We will not be opening our bookdrops at this time. All items are checked out through the end of July and we encourage our users to continue caring for library materials at home. All materials that are returned must be quarantined for 72 hours, so slowing the pace of returns will keep the system from breaking. With 80,000 items currently in our users’ homes, accepting returns over a longer period of time is manageable. If they all arrive in a few days we simply do not have enough storage capacity to hold them for quarantine. This quantity of books would require 1.4 miles of shelving to hold them! We know many items will be returned, but keeping them a bit longer will help.

Thanks for your patience as we restore services. We miss you and look forward to seeing you again (with masks, outside and at a distance).

Please bookmark this page and check back for updates, sign up for our weekly e-news or follow us on social media to learn when services will be available and how to access them.

Message  from Peter Leonard, Executive Director, Updated June 1, 2020

Dear Friends, we know that you are eager to come back to your libraries. We are just as eager to welcome you back—with your health and safety in mind.

We are beginning the process of planning to offer services at graduated levels.

As we progress through the phases of reopening, we will provide you with updates including details and instructions for accessing services. These updates will be posted on our website, included in our weekly e-news and posted on social media.

Beginning June 1st, we will work to reintroduce staff to the libraries by:

  • Creating schedules and workspaces that limit physical interaction between staff.
  • Instituting new safety protocols and incorporating safety equipment.
  • Developing the next phase—distributing materials held since March, in a contactless manner to ensure safety of users, volunteers and employees.

Thank you for your patience as we work through the process of adding more services like returns and holds.  We want to be mindful of capacity and safety.

Please bookmark this page and check back for updates, sign up for our weekly e-news or follow us on social media to learn when services will be available and how to access them.

Message  from Peter Leonard, Executive Director, updated May 21, 2020

Your libraries have been delivering a large array of virtual programs and services during the pandemic. We are also planning how to offer physical library services while insuring the safety of patrons, volunteers and employees. Cedar Mill & Bethany, along with other WCCLS libraries, are looking at a phased reopening guided by health authorities. Each library is tailoring their plan to individual community needs and library capacities.

One of our first priorities over the next few months is to get library materials into your hands, followed by accepting returns. Some libraries throughout the country have tested contactless, curbside pickup. We are closely following their efforts and systematically preparing to adopt the best practices.

We will begin with the backlog of holds and items on order after bringing in new safety supplies and structuring staffing levels, schedules, and teams to prepare the libraries for contactless pickup. Receiving and quarantining returned items will follow. Currently there are more than 80,000 items checked out at Cedar Mill & Bethany Libraries. More than 30% of items in circulation come from other WCCLS libraries. To accept returns, our daily inter-library courier system must be reactivated. We are monitoring scientific tests being performed on library materials by the Reopening Archives, Libraries, and Museums (REALM) project to determine the safest way to handle returned items.

So many in-library services such as storytimes, programs, browsing and computer use are high touch, large group activities. We will not be scheduling any in-library programs this summer and won’t resume until we have a clear and safe path forward. When the libraries are opened to the public, it will be in the safest capacity possible. Until then, we appreciate your patience as we work to create the libraries of the future—a future in which we are all safe and healthy.  — Peter

Library Service Updates FAQ

The library building is still closed to the public at this time following health authority guidelines. Check out our current services. Have questions? Contact us by phone or email.

When you receive a notice, or your library account shows that you have holds ready at Cedar Mill or Bethany Libraries,  visit us curbside during any of our holds pickup hours. Please bring your library card or ID for checkout. Read more about our holds pickup service here.

We will keep your holds on our shelves for 10 days after they arrive.

Holds Pickup Hours

Monday, Friday, and Saturday — 10 am to 1 pm
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday — 10 am to 6 pm
Closed Sundays

updated September 8, 2020

All items are held for 5 days in quarantine for safety of patrons and staff, which can delay items being checked in. No late fees will be charged through September 30. If an item is still on your account a week after its return, please contact library staff to inquire about its status.

updated September 8, 2020

Washington County residents are welcome to apply for a library card online anytime and gain access to an array of digital resources, including e-books, audiobooks, databases, and more.

To update your current account, including converting an existing E-access card to a general library card so you can check out materials, contact the library to make an appointment for curbside assistance.

updated September 8, 2020

Yes, the book drops are now open for returns at both Cedar Mill and Bethany Libraries.

One exception remains for any item too large for the book drop slots:
Please return large items to staff during curbside service hours.

updated September 10, 2020


Staff are available to answer your questions via email and by phone during operating hours. Contact Us

Normally the libraries and Second Edition Resale depend on the help of more than 300 volunteers each month. They help with every aspect of of our organization. As the libraries and Second Edition Resale find ways to operate while keeping volunteers
and staff safe, we’re grateful for your support!

To learn how you can volunteer when the libraries and shop reopen, visit our Volunteer Page for position descriptions and how to apply. Or, contact Volunteer Services Manager, Jennifer Imai, at (503) 644-0043 x111 or

Second Edition Resale is offering sidewalk sales for popular goods including used books every Thursday and Friday from 9 am to 2 pm, weather permitting.

Donations are currently being accepted Wednesdays only, from 9 am to 1 pm, weather permitting until bins are full.

Visit our Second Edition Resale page and follow the shop on Facebook and Instagram for special sales and services updates. You can donate online anytime at

Thank you for your support!

updated September 8, 2020

Following guidance from WCCLS and other agencies, the library will put all returned items in quarantine for at least 5 days before they are checked in and reshelved or put on hold for another patron. Disinfecting library materials can damage them so the best option is to hold items for some time before staff process them.

For more information about how libraries are changing materials handling based on current research, see reports by the REALM project, supported by OCLC, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and Battelle .

updated September 8, 2020


Ask A Librarian

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by phone
  Cedar Mill Library 503-644-0043
  Bethany Branch 503-617-7323 (READ)

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Library Service Updates as of July 3, 2020

Holds pick up
Holds pickup services are available at both library locations by appointment only.

When you are notified of holds waiting for you, schedule an appointment at your branch:

For Cedar Mill Library, go to
or call (503) 644-0043

For Bethany Library, go to
or call (503) 617-7323

Read more about how it works in the Holds Service FAQ

Book drops continue to be closed. Returns are accepted during curbside service hours. No appointment necessary.

Curbside Pickup Hours

Cedar Mill Library

M – Sa 10am – 1pm
T, W &  F 3pm – 6 pm
Closed Sunday

Bethany Library

T –Sa 10am – 1pm
T, W & F 3pm – 6pm
Closed Sunday and Monday

Send documents online for printing and curbside pickup. First 10 pages are free (5 double-sided pages). The default will be black and white, double-sided printing. Let us know if you need single-sided.

To request a print job, attach your document to an email  and send it to the location you want to pick up at:
Cedar Mill Library or Bethany Library

After receiving your print job, you will be sent a link to schedule a curbside pickup appointment.