After governor’s guidance, Sno-Isle Libraries developing plans for in-building services

(Photo courtesy of Sno-Isle Libraries)

New guidance from Gov. Jay Inlsee has opened opportunities for public-library services during COVID-19 restrictions, and Sno-Isle Libraries says it looks forward to resuming some in-building services soon.

“As we near the seven-month mark since closing our libraries in response to the pandemic crisis, we are cautiously optimistic,” said Sno-Isle Libraries Executive Director Lois Langer Thompson. “We look forward to resuming some in-building services in the near future. Final plans are being developed and we expect to start in-building services with a phased approach.” 

Inslee’s announcement Tuesday — which can be read here — would let public libraries that meet certain requirements allow reduced levels of customers into buildings. In addition to libraries, the updates to Washington’s Safe Start reopening plan covers eight other areas including movie theaters and restaurants.

“While we have been actively planning, the state’s guidance information will help inform our next steps,” Thompson said. “We are working now to better understand how and where we may be able to re-introduce appropriate levels of in-building services.” 

Thompson said regardless of what and where additional in-building services may resume, Sno-Isle Libraries will continue to offer contact-free and online services developed since library buildings closed in March. 

Those services include contact-free pick-up and return of materials, remote printing, books by mail, crafts and activities bundles for children and teens as well as expanded digital materials and resources and online library-card signup. Sno-Isle Libraries also just launched a new website this week to better meet customer needs. 

“With ongoing COVID-19 concerns, we know that not all of our customers may be comfortable with in-person and in-building services,” Thompson said. “Keeping staff and customers as safe as possible remains a priority and we will continue to offer contact-free as well as socially distanced in-building services.”

Thompson also noted that the cycles of the pandemic have required flexibility and adaptability. 

“We have been amending our re-entry plan as we receive updated guidance from the CDC, state of Washington, Snohomish Health District, Island County Public Health and other public agencies,” she said. “As we have done since March, we will communicate information about next steps as soon as it is available.” 

For additional information about services and resources at Sno-Isle Libraries, visit sno-isle.org.

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