JCPL responds to COVID19

The library will be closed to the public starting Monday, 3/16

JCPL is committed to the safety and wellbeing of our community and staff. As we are all coping with a rapidly evolving, complex situation, we are working hard to stay in communication with you about what we’re doing and what is going on in our community.

Service status

The library will be closed to the public starting Monday, 3/16. That means the library building will be closed, though you will still be able to access our online library. This is for the safety of our patrons as well as our staff.

New services & policies

Until further notice, late fees for books are suspended. While you may still get notices about overdue books, do not bring the items back until the library reopens.

We have taken some proactive steps to improve our digital services. Starting today, you will be able to stream more than 150 videos through Overdrive for free. All of the videos are G rated. We have tried to included some things to make your time at home better–now is a great time to explore a new language or musical instrument, practice a yoga or tai chi routine, or learn about mental fitness. Click this link to access Overdrive from your computer. You will need your library card number and your PIN, which is the last four digits of your library card number, to log in to Overdrive. Please contact the library if you are having problems with your card.

Understanding social distancing

The steps people are taking now to separate people may seem extreme, but they are backed up by significant public health research. Canceling public events and reducing use of public spaces slows the spread of the virus, which means our health system can keep up. It means fewer people will get sick while we wait for a vaccine or treatment to be developed. Public health experts call this “flattening the curve.”

These methods are most effective before lots of people get sick, which means they may seem premature. Social distancing measures are informed by the best science we have right now. We will still be able to provide digital resources to you, answer your phone calls, and even Skype with you!

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COVID19: what we know

The symptoms of COVID19 are fever, a dry cough and shortness of breath. Most people who catch it have a mild illness, but it can be dangerous to people over 60, and people who are already sick. You can catch it by breathing droplets from someone’s cough or sneeze, touching a surface that has COVID19 viruses on it, and possibly in other ways that scientists are still learning about. We are all trying hard to slow the spread. However, it’s not anybody’s fault if they catch COVID19, and no particular kind of person is more or less likely to spread it. Scientists think this illness will eventually become common, and we will get used to dealing with it. In good news, we are pretty sure that pets cannot get COVID19, and kids can spread the virus but don’t get very sick from it.

There are currently no approved cures or vaccines for COVID19. Claims that any supplement or medicine cures or prevents COVID19 are not based in science.

Stay in; reach out

This is a hard and frightening time for a lot of people, especially our elders and other vulnerable people who are being asked to stay in. People who work in retail and food service; authors and performers; and gig workers may be facing a sudden loss in income. If you are at less risk, consider running errands, checking on seniors, teaching people how to use video calling and conferencing, and calling elders frequently so they know they are not alone.

It is normal to feel stressed and uncertain during a disaster. If you’d like to talk to someone, you can call the Disaster Distress Hotline at 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, you can use your relay service to call 1-800-985-5990. If you are in a good place, consider volunteering for a mental health hotline.

The Florida Department of Health has set up a 24 hour COVID19 hotline: 1-866-779-6121 .

You can report price gouging to the state Attorney General at: 1-866-966-7226. Actions like reselling cleaning items at a profit are illegal.

Do not let people take advantage of your vulnerability during disasters. There are laws protecting you from eviction, scams, abuse, price gouging, and mistreatment. You still have legal and constitutional rights. If you are a senior, you can call the Senior Legal Helpline 1-888-895-7873 for legal guidance. No matter your age, you can go to https://floridalawhelp.org/ to get legal guidance.

If you are a Jefferson County resident and need a connection to other kinds of assistance, please reach out to the library 850-342-0205. We are also available on Skype (850-273-6044) if you would like to schedule a video chat. The library cannot give you medical advice, and does not have information about the availability of tests, treatments or protective equipment, but can help connect you to the local government and other high quality resources. We can provide you with reliable scientific information about COVID19 as well as the latest emergency guidance.

Protect your health & safety

Based on what we’ve seen from other countries, our health system may soon be under strain or even unable to help with non-critical illnesses and injuries. You can help by dedicating some extra attention to your health and safety.

We can all do our part to protect our health so that there will be care available for people who are sick, whether or not they have COVID19.

Watch this space

The library and Jefferson County are adapting to this new situation, and are working out how to continue to provide services to you. We will have information soon about voting, the Census, public meetings and other important events. Please let us know if the library can do anything else to support you. You can get regular updates about the status of library services on this page or on our Facebook page http://facebook.com/jeffersonlibrary.

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