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The Deschutes Library is Your New Netflix

From crafting courses to classic and foreign films, DPL has resources to deepen the mind or simply escape the chaos

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The Deschutes Public Library system went digital long before novel coronavirus hit Central Oregon. Now, it's ramping up digital collections and live streaming its programs.

Todd Dunkelberg, library director, said after they made the decision to close library locations, his staff stopped ordering physical books and materials and immediately shifted spending into more downloadable books, audio and movies.

Kanopy—available through Deschutes Public Library—has a vast collection of foreign films, classic cinema, independent films and educational videos. - KANOPY / DESCHUTES PUBLIC LIBRARY - SCREENSHOT
  • Kanopy / Deschutes Public Library - Screenshot
  • Kanopy—available through Deschutes Public Library—has a vast collection of foreign films, classic cinema, independent films and educational videos.

DPL has already live streamed a number of online events to replace the usual in-person programming. In some ways, the events are actually more accessible than they were before, Dunkelberg told the Source. (The DPL calendar and Facebook page are great resources to find out what events will be live streamed in the coming weeks.)



“Last week’s presentation by Ani Kasch from the Environmental Center about reducing household waste has over 800 views,” Dunkelberg said. “It’s reaching more people: Even our largest event space—the Brooks Room in the Downtown Bend library—only holds 80 people.”

Children’s librarians at DPL also embraced the challenge by recording short storytime videos for kids for the DPL's YouTube channel.

This DPL event throughout the month of April will bring 100s of people together online in Central Oregon. DPL will be hosting online discussions, talks with the author and even live Irish music! - DESCHUTES PUBLIC LIBRARY
  • Deschutes Public Library
  • This DPL event throughout the month of April will bring 100s of people together online in Central Oregon. DPL will be hosting online discussions, talks with the author and even live Irish music!
DPL will continue hosting “A Novel Idea” during the month of April through online events.

With that program, thousands of people in Central Oregon read the same book at the same time and get together for discussions and events. This year, the book is “When All Is Said” by Anne Griffin, an award-winning Irish author who will participate in some of the planned events for her book this month, through Zoom meetings from Ireland. The first book discussion is April 1 at 6pm. On April 5, Chris Sepic will perform Irish music live streamed from 3-4pm as part of the theme of exploring Irish culture.

Discovering New Resources



Dunkelberg said his favorite undiscovered resource at the library is RBDigital, a collection of over 400 magazines, including back issues easily downloaded to a desktop or tablet. The collection includes Outside, Climbing, High Times, Guitar Player and National Geographic among hundreds of other popular titles.

“The most popular magazine downloads from DPL are OK and Star,” Dunkelberg said. “It’s a great resources for escapism and to get away too.”


Graham Fox, a community librarian at the DPL Redmond branch, began running his book club, “Thrilling Mysteries” online last Monday.

“Some people in the group are a little older and more technically challenged, but we used Zoom and everyone got on and figured it out,” Fox told the Source. “Since this was successful, it’s encouragement for other librarians to try their events this way as well.”

Fox said he was looking forward to the live Literary Trivia night April 7 from 6:30-8:30pm. The theme is different alcoholic drinks (and drinkers!) that appeared in famous novels.

“Everyone is jumping on board with this,” Fox said. “It opens up the library system, with all these separate libraries collaborating. You don’t have to be local [near the library] to attend these events.”

Fox said streaming programs could also open up opportunities for other generations to get engaged, and for people who are usually too busy with work and kids to participate.

Creativebug has hundreds of high-quality arts and crafts classes from painting to sewing to paper crafts. - CREATIVEBUG / DESCHUTES PUBLIC LIBRARY - SCREENSHOT
  • Creativebug / Deschutes Public Library - Screenshot
  • Creativebug has hundreds of high-quality arts and crafts classes from painting to sewing to paper crafts.

One new resource Fox wanted to highlight is Creativebug, which has hundreds of high-quality video classes, teaching everything from watercolor painting to jewelry making to paper crafts. It has daily inspirational assignments, an active social media community and years of content that could inspire a new hobby or a creative passion.

“I still don’t think people know how much is available [at DPL],” Fox said. “There’s tons of hidden resources in the research and learning section, from tracing your genealogy to working on your car.”

“It’s an opportunity to teach and learn and grow during this time period when we’re all stuck inside,” he said.

“We’re trying to inspire people and keep the community connection going,” Dunkelberg added. “We’re all in this together. The part we can play supporting our community... we want to be as strong as we can online.”

It appears the community is utilizing DPL as a resource. Digital book checkouts have been over 2000 a day since the physical locations closed two weeks ago—a record high compared to months prior.

My personal favorite DPL resource is Kanopy. It has a vast collection of foreign films, classic cinema, independent films and educational videos that don’t necessarily fit the typical entertainment mold. It opens my mind to movies and ideas I just wouldn't normally come across on Netflix or Amazon.

Accessing Help



DPL’s homepage has links to resources about how to use the library from home. The entire library staff is still working from home and available to help people get up and running. They'll help you get your library card for the first time if you don't already have one, they say—just ask.

Librarians will return voice messages (541-617-7050), reply to the library chat service, and return emails Mon-Fri from 10am-4pm.

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