Banks, CORONAVIRUS, library

Behind locked doors, the Banks Public Library is open for business

The Banks Public Library. Photo: Chas Hundley

Coronavirus resources: CDC on the coronavirusOregon Health Authority resourcesWashington County resourcesOregonian reporting on the coronavirusOPB glossary of coronavirus termsNYTimes free reporting on the coronavirus

BANKS – The Banks Public Library is closed to visitors, but library staff are still hard at work.

Firstly, it’s important to note that staff are inside and still answering phones. Need a book recommendation, or need help with some of Washington County Cooperative Library Services online resources? Call a librarian at 503-324-1382 Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Here are just a handful of online opportunities offered through WCCLS:

Free movies online through Kanopy

Kanopy streams a variety of independent and classic films, documentaries, short films, international cinema, and educational videos. Hot tip: check out the Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin silent film classics. 

[We rely on subscribers to keep the lights on at the Banks Post. Support us with a digital subscription: Click here to start]

Ebooks and audio books

The library has huge catalog of ebooks, audio books, and graphic novels available online.

Through the library, you can gain free access online to billions of birth, death, marriage, military and tax records and build better understanding of your family tree.

Free access to the New York Times

Trying to keep up with all the national news, but find yourself unable to afford a subscription to a national newspaper?  WCCLS library card holders can get a 72 hour pass (that can be renewed an unlimited amount of times) that will work with the NYT app and their website.

Information on this county library service can be accessed by visiting

Here’s a link to the A – Z directory of all the digital services offered by WCCLS.

With their doors shuttered, the Banks Public Library staff are looking at some creative options to continue their work in the Banks community. 

According to Susan Cackler, the Banks Public Library library supervisor and programs coordinator, there hasn’t been any interest yet in programs and events offered through video conferencing. 

“A lot of people in our service area do not have strong enough Internet connections to be able to participate fully in a virtual way, including me, actually, so I know it may be a pretty small group of patrons who would be interested,” Cackler told the Banks Post. Cackler had put a note in the library’s regular monthly newsletter to gauge interest in the idea on April 3.

But that doesn’t mean some of the library activities aren’t going to reach users digitally.

“I am just about to send a cheese tutorial in the same format as the newsletter,” Cackler noted.

Another service the library offers, the seed library, is especially pressing as the region moves into the spring planting season. 

“We are packaging seeds and working on some educational material to go with them,” said Cackler, who noted that the seeds will be packaged in a way to minimize the amount of contact patrons would need to have to pick them up.

Before the closure, the Banks Public Library held weekly story times for toddlers and preschool-age children. Now, Cackler says, staff are enjoying preparing new material for when things return to normal. 

“We have staff who are really creative and are helping me to re-create some favorite storybooks in felt,” she said. Staff are creating a felt alphabet, felt numbers and felt shapes for future use. Meanwhile, Cackler is creating an extensive series of weekly plans — each including a list of books to use, a felt story or other props, a craft or activity, an early literacy tip for parents, and a schedule outline — for when the library reopens. 

“I anticipate that we will be very busy when we are able to open our doors to patrons, and I am excited to know that I will have an arsenal of high quality plans already in place when we do,” Cackler said.

The Friends of the Banks Library Spring book sale is on hold for now, according to Cackler, but if you wish to support the Friends group, which supports the library with funds for programming, books, and more, community members have a few options. 

Two simple ways include linking your account to Amazon account to the Friends of the Banks Library through Amazon Smile, and by linking your Fred Meyer Rewards card to the Friends group. 

Another way to support the friends group is by becoming a member. According to the city of Banks webpage for the group, there are 4 membership tiers at $25, $50, $100, and $250. To join the Friends, mail a check with your name, address, email and phone number to: 

Friends of the Banks Library

42461 NW Market St

Banks, OR 97106

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Chas Hundley is the editor of the Banks Post and sister news publications the Gales Creek Journal and the Salmonberry Magazine. He grew up in Gales Creek and has a cat.

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