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Oakdale Library Still Thriving Despite COVID-19 Restraints
Oakdale Librarian Karina Mendoza prepares the curbside no-contact pick up items for the day at the local library branch. Currently, the library is not open to the public but there are many ways to still get your literary fix. KIM VAN METER/THE LEADER

For a bookworm, there’s something hallowed and treasured about the local library. Libraries are a mecca of knowledge, information, and intellectual pleasure — free to anyone with a library card — responsible for many, their love of reading.

When the pandemic hit and the lockdown followed, the typical library services were among the multitude of services shuttered to the public but the Oakdale Library has managed to thrive despite the pandemic restrictions, earning the status of the third busiest library branch in Stanislaus County.

And it would seem, cookbooks are flying off the shelves.

“I’m guessing people are wanting to try new things,” Karina Mendoza, librarian, Oakdale Library Branch Supervisor shared of the increase, adding that mystery and thrillers from authors like James Patterson, David Baldacci, CJ Box and Harlen Coben are also popular.

Stanislaus County libraries have been offering no-contact-holds service since March, starting their version of curb-side service. Customers can place holds by going to the website, or using the library app which can be found in the phone app store by searching for Stanislaus County Library. Customers can also call the library and place holds over the phone.

“Libraries adapt to the needs and current situations of the communities that they serve,” Mendoza said.

If a customer is unsure what they are looking or if they need books for their children, library staff are more than happy to hand pick books that they think the kids will like.

Mendoza explained, “So if a parent needs books that are of a certain reading level we can select books that they will enjoy. This has been a very popular service that is now available on our website as well.”

With very little new television programming available due to filming restrictions on Hollywood, most places remaining in lockdown, and entertainment options slim, books have slid back into favor.

“There has been a recent uptick in our circulation, for the past two months we have averaged a little over 3,000 items,” Mendoza said. “Our circulation of physical items has gone down but our eBook circulation has increased. With a library card, customers have access to eBooks and downloadable audio books through our Cloud Library app and Hoopla Digital app. If someone doesn’t have a card they can apply online for a digital services card, which is free just like our regular cards.”

Oakdale is the third busiest branch library behind Salida and Denair. During pre-COVID times, Oakdale was the third branch behind Turlock and Salida. Turlock is currently closed for a remodel.

While the libraries remain closed to the public, the Oakdale Library is offering many virtual programs through the Stanislaus Library Facebook page. Virtual Story Time will resume in October and there will be adult trivia nights twice a month on Fridays.

There is also a new online language learning program called, Transparent Languages. It offers over 100 languages to choose from and can be found at:

Even though virtual programming fills a gap, Mendoza admits she misses having people circulate through the doors.

“I miss seeing all the smiling faces at my Story Times. I really miss the kids’ excitement as they walk in the building,” she said.

The Oakdale Library is in operation from Monday through Thursday, from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Fridays 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information on how to take advantage of the many services still available, call 209-847-4204.

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Lockdown in a pandemic doesn’t mean residents can’t get access to the Oakdale Library’s services. For more information, give them a call and find out how they can help you. KIM VAN METER/THE LEADER