Spokane County libraries close again after brief opening

By: 
Michael Brock
Reporter

UPDATE: On Tuesday, Nov. 17, Spokane County Library District announced that all libraries in the county will close to the public, returning to curbside pickup and virtual services only.

This announcement came five days after county libraries reopened on a modified basis and two days after Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced more restrictions on the state through at least Dec. 14.

“In-library services will be paused until Tuesday, December 15, with this date subject to change,” the release reads. “Curbside pickup hours will remain the same, Monday-Saturday, 12-6 p.m. on days when a library would normally be open.”

Digital services, resources and virtual programs remain available, as do remote and mobile services such as mobile printing.


ORIGINAL STORY ON NOV. 16: All libraries in Spokane County — including the one on Forest Ave. in Deer Park — reopened on Nov. 12, with some modifications.

“We are looking forward to opening and assisting you with our library services, resources, and programs,” reads a Spokane County Library District press release from Nov. 6. “The reopening requirements are a challenge that we have adhered to while still offering as many services as possible.”

Hours

During the past few months of the COVID-19 pandemic, some library amenities have been available including curbside pickup, mobile hotspots, mobile printing and virtual programs.

Those will continue, however the doors will now be open from noon to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. High-risk customers have dedicated time slots on Tuesdays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to noon.

“We wish that as a library we could do everything we used to before the pandemic, but until the requirements change, we appreciate your patience and understanding that not all services, resources, and programs will be available,” reads the release.

COVID-19 changes

  • Masks are required for every person, and will be provided for those that don’t have one. “If you have a medical reason or choose not to wear a mask, please take advantage of our curbside pickup service, our virtual Book a Librarian appointment, and our other mobile services,” reads the release.
  • Whenever possible, keep a 6-foot distance from others.
  • Capacity is limited to 25%.
  • Limit library visits to 30 minutes or less.
  • Food and drink is not allowed.
  • Hand sanitizer is available at the service desk as well as more locations in the library.
  • After being collected from the book drop, returned materials will be quarantined for 72 hours before returning to circulation.
  • “Enhanced cleaning protocols include frequent cleaning of high-touch surfaces,” reads the release.

At this time, computers are available only by reservation, which can be made online, over the phone or in-person with library staff. “Additional cleaning protocols will be performed on computers between each reserved session,” reads the release.

Virtual programs, including topics of storytime, cooking, crafting and gardening, are still being offered.

Suspended Services

  • Public seating in the library and lobby.
  • Conference and meeting rooms, as they are being used for quarantined materials.
  • In-library programs.
  • Used book sales.
  • Book donations.
  • The Lab at North Spokane Library and The Studio at Spokane Valley Library.
  • DVDs and CDs through the interlibrary loan program.
  • The outreach program.