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All libraries in Jackson, Josephine counties close

Libraries throughout the Rogue Valley have closed their doors due to staffing concerns and to help limit the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Late last week, Jackson County Library Services announced most of its 15 libraries would be closed, but the Ashland and Medford branches would remain open and extend operations to seven days a week.

On Monday, Jackson County Library Services changed course and announced all branches were closed effective immediately until further notice.

In Josephine County, the Josephine Community Library System closed all four branches in Grants Pass, the Illinois Valley, Williams and Wolf Creek until further notice. Due dates for checked out items have been extended, although book drops will remain open.

In Jackson County, librarians want patrons to hold on to any books or other materials they’ve checked out. Book holds and due dates will be extended.

Jackson County library officials said they are taking the COVID-19 threat seriously.

“As a public institution, we did not make this decision lightly,” Jackson County Library Services said in a statement. “We recognize closure means some of the people who need us the most will not have access to library buildings. We will be working with our partners on how we can work together to support our community.”

Although library buildings are closed, staff members continue to work and be paid. They are available to help the public via email or phone. Libraries are following workplace guidelines from county health officials, library officials said.

Patrons with a library card can access a broad range of digital content and other services, including downloadable magazines, e-books and audiobooks; streaming videos; educational resources and language tutorials.

Visit jcls.org/downloads to access digital content.

All library events and meeting room reservations have been canceled through April 13. Officials will continue to monitor how long spaces and programs will remain unavailable.

The annual Medford Comic Con that had been scheduled April 25-26 had already been canceled.

Jackson County Library Services will post updates on its website at jcls.org and on its Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Reach Mail Tribune reporter Vickie Aldous at 541-776-4486 or valdous@rosebudmedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @VickieAldous.

All libraries in Jackson and Josephine counties have closed until further notice amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo courtesy Friends of the Medford Library.{ }