Sno-Isle Libraries is bringing back limited in-building services at select community libraries.
“Library customers tell me every day they appreciate the adaptions we have made, but really need access to our in-building services,” Sno-Isle Libraries Executive Director Lois Langer Thompson said. “The COVID-19 pandemic has allowed us to innovate our library services for customers – from online programming to laptop checkouts – we’ve been able to reimagine new ways to stay connected. Opening libraries for in-building services is the next step.”
Under Gov. Jay Inslee’s Healthy Washington – Roadmap to Recovery, public libraries may offer in-building services while adhering to restrictions intended to address public safety concerns. Thompson said library staff have been planning and preparing community libraries to deliver in-building services that meet state guidelines and restrictions.
Called “Grab ‘n’ Go,” Sno-Isle Libraries' plan adds services within state public safety guidelines. Customers can again browse library materials. However, the number of customers will be limited, they must wear face-coverings (including children over age 2) and limit their time in the building to 30 minutes.
Managing building capacity makes social distancing easier to maintain, high-touch surfaces are regularly wiped down, most furniture has been removed, air-handling systems have been improved, and more. The library district already quarantines returned materials for at least 24 hours per CDC guidelines.
Rebecca Loney, Director of Public Services, said Sno-Isle Libraries is taking a sequential approach to adding limited in-building services to community libraries. “We will also continue to offer our customers their choice of contact-free and online services and programs,” Loney said.
The libraries in Freeland, Darrington and Camano Island opened their doors last week. This week, the libraries in Brier, Coupeville, Lynnwood, and Snohomish began offering Grab ‘n’ Go service and the Marysville Library is providing a meeting room for computer access.
Each Sno-Isle Libraries building is as unique as the community it serves and not all libraries will have the same in-building services available.
“We will continue to expand our in-building services as libraries are ready,” Loney said. “We expect to see more libraries with in-building services over the coming weeks.”
One Sno-Isle Libraries’ criteria for offering Grab ‘n’ Go was that the library could physically accommodate both in-building and contact-free services at the same time while also following state safety guidelines. It was determined that 19 of the 23 community libraries meet the threshold. Libraries in Arlington, Clinton, Mill Creek and Lake Stevens do not meet the guidelines and will continue with contact-free service but not offer in-building options at this time.
All 23 Sno-Isle Libraries community libraries offer contact-free services including pickup of materials, printing, laptop and Wi-Fi checkouts and more. Online services and resources are available 24-7 through the recently redesigned website, www.sno-isle.org.