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Director Message 5/28/2021

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The library district's initial announcement on May 14 about expecting to make mask wear optional was based on the statements by the CDC and Gov. Brown the previous day, but when the state released its updated guidelines a few days later, requiring proof of vaccination for people to go without masks, the situation changed.

Based on OHA guidance released on May 18, a business can either (a) check vaccination cards, or (b) require masks.

To protect our visitors’ right to privacy, Baker County Library staff will not ask to see proof of vaccination. And to be fair, the library will not distinguish between visitors based on health/vaccination status. So, unfortunately masks will continue to be officially required for all visitors age 5 and up -- on June 1 and until further notice. 


Effective June 1 (some changes rolling out sooner), Baker County libraries will be relaxing many other COVID-19 restrictions, including:

  • Unrestricted visitation time. Enter freely, no visitor passes!
  • Multiple entrances and public restrooms are re-open.
  • Building occupancy limits expanded.
  • No UV-C sanitation or quarantine for returned materials.
  • More public computer workstations. Keyboard and accessory presets are restored.
  • All library catalog stations are available.
  • Meeting Room use available for small groups. Note: only half of the Baker branch
  • Riverside Meeting Room (sink side) will be available until future notice. Occupancy of no more than 8 people recommended. Reservations are currently by phone only.

We will be continuing the allotment of 5 free print or copy pages per day that we began as part of our pandemic service. After July 1, we will return to the practice of keeping the newest issues of magazines reserved for in-library use only. 

If a visitor has a medical condition that makes it hard to breathe or a disability that prevents them from wearing a mask, they can request an accommodation.*

Food and drink (spill resistant containers, please) are again permitted in the library as of June 1 as long as they don't create a nuisance with spills, litter, or odor.  State guidelines do allow mask removal while "actively eating or drinking". Being in a “private, personal workspace” (such as a Study Room) is also an allowable exemption.

We welcome everyone to use the library at their own risk.  On June 1 patrons are invited to celebrate relaxation of restrictions with a free cookie or juice drink.

For persons who are immunocompromised, and/or unable to be vaccinated, we strongly encourage the safest options of our drive-up window or curbside service and/or our digital catalog.


If a visitor or employee has a medical condition that makes it hard to breathe or a disability that prevents them from wearing a mask, they can request an accommodation. We have been advised, however, that such accommodation may not include simply opting out of the mask rule indoors.  

For visitors who have health conditions that make it difficult to wear a mask, are immunocompromised,  and/or unable to be vaccinated, we encourage using the safest options of our drive-up window or curbside service and/or our Library2Go digital catalog. For computer accommodation, we recommend using a workstation in a Study Room, or checkout of our new WiFi Hotspots and laptops.


Library staff have reported a recent increase in incidence of non-compliance with the mask rules. Visitors should be aware that this is expected to be more common. As the library doesn't have enough staff resources to consistently enforce the state rule everywhere in the building, we must rely on an honor system for compliance. Everyone is welcome to use the library at their own risk. 


Employees that provide a copy of Proof of Vaccination may opt out of wearing a mask. As with visitors, we unfortunately are not able to officially allow the ADA accommodation of going maskless unless proof of vaccination has been checked.


What if a patron voluntarily presents their proof of vaccination card so they can go maskless in the library?

Unfortunately, the voluntary presentation of a vaccination card isn't workable.  My understanding of the state rule is that in order to authorize any "fully vaccinated individual" to go maskless, a business is required to check "each individual’s proof of vaccination prior to entry or admission." This puts the library in a position of having a checkpoint and distinguishing privileges between visitors based on vaccination status, which we won't do. BCLD seeks to avoid creating an environment in which visitors and employees have a feeling that they are being coerced into getting a vaccine.


What if a patron reports a maskless individual and expects staff to enforce the mask rule?

We are relying on an honor system for compliance with the state rule. We don’t have enough staff resources for consistent enforcement of the state rule.