Oneida Library is closed until further notice

In the best interests of its patrons and the greater Oneida community, Oneida Public Library has closed its doors until further notice in compliance with the orders of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the Madison County Health Department while the COVID-19 epidemic sweeps across New York State.

Library programs, Senior Tax Help by Cornell co-op volunteers and adult literacy tutoring sessions held at the library, 220 Broad St., will be rescheduled once the state of emergency is lifted in whole or in part. (The Internal Revenue Service has extended the deadline for 2019 income tax filing until July 15, 2020.)

While patrons are unable to borrow library materials or place books on hold for the duration, all 43 libraries in the MidYork Library System, including the OPL, have extended the due date for materials now in the hands of patrons to July 1, 2020, and will continue the suspension of holds on MidYork books, DVDs and other materials until July 1.

Meanwhile, OPL staff is busy working at home on developing online programming. Check out the OPL’s Facebook page for the latest: https://www.facebook.com/OneidaPublicLibrary/

The OPL’s online services are up and running and available to all holders of a MidYork library card: Libby/Overdrive for e-books and audio books; Hoopla for downloading movies, TV shoes and e-books; and RB Digital for magazines and audio books. Patrons can directly access these online sources at the MidYork Library System web site (www.midyork.org and http://www.midyork.overdrive.com). Those without MidYork library cards and eligible to have one can still access the online services by applying for an E-Patron library card that is good for six months.

The new OPL goes ‘on pause’

459 Main Street, March 27, 2020. By order of the State of New York, construction on the new Oneida Public Library was halted at the end of the day, March 27, as were all non-essential  construction projects throughout the state. Here is how it looked just before shutdown. (Photo by R. Kinsella)

And now a word from our Madison County historian

We are in a unique historical moment that will be of interest to future generations. Our local historians, historical societies and libraries are working diligently to record the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as much as possible while working outside the office with the goal of preserving data on the local reaction to COVID-19 so that future generations have as much information as possible.

Most historical researchers would tell you that we seldom benefit from a good record of people’s thoughts during historic moments, but we can change that during the present crisis. We are encouraging all local Madison County residents to document as much as you can so that when future generations look back on this they will have a wealth of local information to better understand how COVID-19 impacted our community.

With that in mind we are encouraging local residents whenever possible to one or more of the following.

Keep a diary. Beginning today, record your memories of local events and reactions to COVID-19. Write about how store closings, losses of jobs, social distancing has impacted your life and your daily routine.
Encourage your friends and neighbors, if they are able, to record their feelings and activities during the pandemic as well.
Speak to your friends, neighbors, and family that are not keeping a journal and ask for their thoughts and opinions and write or record it all.
Take and collect photographs of various ways your community has responded to the stay-at-home-orders.
Document specific activities your community’s citizens are taking to help each other in this crisis.
If you have the capability keep an audio or video diary that includes your thoughts, fears, descriptions of daily activities and family life.

In recording this information please remember that your safety must come first and that you should follow all guidelines set forward by the Madison County Health Department, New York State and and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. And when the clouds lift and we can go about our regular business, please donate these to your local historical society, library, historic commission or historian for posterity.

Matthew Urtz
Madison County Historian

19th-century Oneida newspapers in OPL’s Digital Archives Thanks to a grant from the Central New York Library Resources Council and a donation from the Friends of the Oneida Public Library, the OPL’s Digital Archives of the Oneida Public Library now has the digital versions of 10 microfilm reels of Oneida 19th-century newspapers: The Democratic Union (Feb. 1872-Sept. 1875 and Jan. 1885-Dec. 1901) and the Oneida Free Press (April 1880-March 1886).


The OPL has Oneida High School yearbooks online Oneida High School yearbooks from 1936 through 2018 have been successfully digitized, electronically indexed and, as of today, posted online at the web site of New York Heritage, thanks to a Regional Bibliographic Databases Program grant to the Oneida Public Library from the New York State Library, as administered by the Central New York Library Resources Council in Syracuse. Those interested in exploring the yearbooks online can go directly to the New York Heritage site at: https://nyheritage.org/collections/oneida-yearbook-collection