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Multnomah County libraries closed; late fees waived

All Multnomah County Library branches are closed due to coronavirus concerns, and people are asked not to return library materials until further notice.

PORTLAND, Ore. — All Multnomah County libraries are closed until further notice, due to coronavirus concerns, director of libraries Vailey Oehlke announced Friday. 

While the libraries are closed, Oehlke offered the following guidance for patrons:

  • Please do not return library materials during the closure
  • You will not be charged for late returns
  • Your holds will stay on the shelf

She also encouraged library patrons to use digital library resources while branches are closed. 

GET THE LATEST INFORMATION ON THE CORONAVIRUS

Oehlke said the closure came under direction and guidance from the Multnomah County Health Department, the Oregon Health Authority, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"The unprecedented nature of the COVID-19 pandemic and the real threat to the health and safety of our families, friends and neighbors requires swift and dramatic action," she said. "Sadly, the action we must take to help stop the spread means that people will lose access to library spaces until public health officials advise that it’s safe for the public and library staff to resume our work."

More than 2 million people used WiFi at Multnomah County libraries last year, according to Oregon Public Broadcasting, and Oehlke said WiFi will continue to be accessible from outside library locations during regular hours. 

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In Oregon, the risk of contracting COVID-19 remains low, according to officials. At KGW, we’re focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the virus. To see our full coverage, visit our coronavirus section, here: kgw.com/FactsNotFear