Friday August 12th 2022

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What”™s Up at Your Community Libraries


By Lindsey Fenner

On April 5, Hennepin County Library locked out around 311 County workers, including about 220 library workers. Most workers locked out are library specialists, who are among the lowest paid County workers. Library specialists usually provide the support functions that make libraries run, and had been working hard supporting remote library services since the libraries closed in mid-March. AFSCME Local 2822, which represents all but one of the locked-out workers, has filed a class action grievance against the lockout action by Hennepin County.

Starting April 13, Hennepin County Library started offering curbside holds pick up at 8 library locations, including at East Lake Library. Library workers have raised public health and worker safety concerns about providing this non-essential service, especially as the County decided to make recall to these high-risk locations involuntary, over the protest of Local 2822. (Curbside service has provided paid work for only about 20 of the locked-out workers.) In addition, library workers have been raising questions about the lack of conclusive research on coronavirus transmission on library materials; the use of precious PPE and sanitizing supplies for providing a non-essential service; and the example of putting both workers and residents into unnecessary interactions with each other to provide a non-critical service during a Stay-At-Home order. Books are great, but lives are essential!

Library workers ask that the community does not use Library Curbside services at this time. Instead, please take advantage of the many other remote services that Hennepin County Library is offering, and advocate for more robust remote services to bridge the digital divide!

All Hennepin County Libraries are closed to public.

For Updated information on Hennepin County Library services during the Coronavirus Pandemic, visit All information is accurate as of April 19, 2020

Ask Us: Have a reference or library account question? Call, text, chat with, or email a library worker

Call 612-543-KNOW (5669)to reach library staff by phone.
Monday-Thursday 9 a.m. ”“ 9 p.m.
Friday-Saturday 9 a.m. ”“ 5 p.m.
Sunday noon 5 p.m.
Español/Spanish: Llame o envie un texto al 651-503-8013 para recibir ayuda en español.
Hmoob/Hmong: Hu losis text rau lub tsev nyeem ntawv ntawm 612-385-0886 txais kev pab hais lus Hmoob.
Soomaali/Somali: Caawimaad Soomaali wah, soo wac ama qoraal (text) usoo dir maktabada 612-235-1339.

Physical Materials: All due dates have been extended. All holds have been extended.

Book Returns: All library book returns were closed on March 19. Check the library website when they will reopen. PLEASE do not put library workers at risk by returning library materials at this time.

Library Card and Account Information:
Contact the Library through Ask Us (above) to get your library account information.

Temporary Library E-Card: If you do not have a Hennepin County Library card and would like to apply for a card to access online resources while we are temporarily closed, Hennepin County residents and property owners can apply online to get a temporary e-card:

Online Resources: Hennepin County Library has a smorgasboard of online resources including: Newspapers, Practice Tests, Interactives for Kids, Journals, Encyclopedias, Directories, Local History Digital Archives, Free Downloadable Music, Streamable Movies, Government Documents, Biographies, Computer Tutorials, and last but not least, E-Books. Visit the website to browse all online resources:

E-Books and Audiobooks

Libby: The Libby app is available for iOS and Android devices and is a streamlined way to access downloadable ebooks and audiobooks from OverDrive. You can check out and audiobooks right in the app. You can also read eBooks in the app or send them to your Kindle.

Cloud Library: Find downloadable eBooks for readers of all ages. A reader app is also available for Apple, Android and other devices.

Storytimes on Facebook: Hennepin County children”™s librarians are hosting storytimes on Facebook. New family storytimes premiere at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, baby storytimes at 3:30 p.m. on Thursdays, and are available on YouTube anytime.

Homework Help: Online tutoring and online resources (need a library card to access

Other Hennepin County Resources

Hennepin County Resource Helpline:
612-348-3000, 8 a.m.-8 p.m., 7 days a week
Help available in different languages
If you”™re impacted by COVID-19, call for help with clothing, financial assistance, grocery and household supplies, medical care and equipment, or medication.

For people experiencing homelessness:
Adults: Call 612-248-2350.
Families: Call 612-348-9410. On holidays, weekends, and evenings until 11 p.m., call 211 (mobile: 651-291-0211) and ask for the after-hours shelter team.

Domestic Abuse Service Center:
Advocacy, orders for protection and safety planning services can be accessed by calling 612-348-5073.
We discourage anyone from coming to the domestic abuse service center at the Government Center. But if someone finds themselves there, a conference room has been set up on the same level equipped with phones to call the services number 612-348-5073. The room is A0710.

Mental health emergencies:
Adults 18 and over call 612-596-1223.
Children 17 and under call 612-348-2233.
Text **CRISIS to connect to a crisis counselor.

Internet Access

Free Wireless Access in Minneapolis
USI: USI opened their WiFi network in Minneapolis for those that may need temporary internet access
”¢ Look for the “City of Minneapolis Public WiFi” or “USI Wireless” networks on your mobile device and you will be connected. The process is similar to using Wi-Fi at a coffee shop or the airport.
Ӣ No password or credit card is required to sign in.
Ӣ You need to be within 50 feet of the hotspots. Signal strength varies indoors.
Contact: Call (24/7) 1-800-US-INTERNET ”“ Email: Text: 952-253-3277
Comcast: Comcast opened their Xfinity WiFi network and is offering unlimited data for free.
”¢ For a map of Xfinity WiFi hotspots, visit Once at a hotspot, select the “xfinitywifi” network name open your Internet browser.


Waite House Food Shelf
2323 11th Avenue South Minneapolis, MN, 55404
Mondays: 1-5 pm
Tuesdays: 10 am-12 pm & 2-5 pm
Thursdays: 10 am-12 pm & 2-5 pm

Minneapolis Public Schools

Food for children during closure:
MPS is offering WEEKLY food pick up at nearly 50 food distribution sites across the city of Minneapolis. Each day, up to 10 different sites across the city offer food pick-up from 10 am – 2 pm, Monday-Friday.
Each food box contains 5 breakfasts and 5 lunches for a total of 10 meals. Families are welcome to take ONE (1) box per child, per week. Food is FREE and available to ANY child 18 years or younger.
Food pick in or near Phillips:
Monday: Andersen School
Tuesday: Phillips Park, Green School
Wednesday: Peavey Park
Thursday: South High School
Friday: Sullivan School

United Way 2-1-1
United Way 2-1-1 provides free and confidential health and human services information for people in Minnesota. We”™re here 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to connect you with the resources and information you need. Whether you are in crisis, or need a little support, we”™re here to help.
Call: 651-291-0211

Lindsey Fenner is one of the locked-out library workers and is an executive board member of AFSCME Local 2822, representing Library Specialists, Associate Librarians, and Public Service Assistants at Hennepin County Library.

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