Limited in-person services available at some libraries, including computer access at the Marysville Library
Sno-Isle Libraries is beginning the process of reopening with limited in-person services at Marysville Library and other libraries in the system.
Arlington Library will have to wait longer into the pandemic recovery before in-person services return there, but computer services are now available at the Marysville Library and the Lakewood/Smokey Point Library has in-person services planned for the near future.
Under Gov. Jay Inslee’s reopening plan, public libraries can begin in-person services while adhering to some prescribed safety measures.
“We’ve been following all the state guidelines,” said Kurt Batdorf, communications specialist with the Sno-Isle Libraries.
The library system has been planning for a reopening for some time and looking how to do it safely, he said.
Because libraries were allowed under Inslee’s plan, Batdorf said Sno-Isle Libraries felt now was the right time to begin the reopening process.
“Really, it was the Governor’s guidelines that have allowed us to begin reopening,” he said.
The library system still wants to do so in a way that will be safe for employees and those coming in for books as well.
“We’ve been very transparent with staff and listening to their concerns,” said Batdorf. “The safety of our staff and safety of our customers is the most important priority to us."
The new reopening program for libraries will be called "Grab ‘n’ Go" and will allow customers wearing face masks a maximum of 30 minutes to browse books or use library services, such as computers.
The number of library visitors will be limited as well if too many people come to the library at the same time.
In preparation for in-person services, air ventilation systems have been improved at libraries and staff will regularly wipe down surfaces that are "high-touch surfaces."
The library district already quarantines returned materials before returning them to circulation for 24 hours, which is a guideline from the CDC.
Sno-Isle Libraries officials wanted to make sure to continue contact-free services as well, said Batdorf, so online pickup options and laptop checkout services will remain at all libraries.
In-person services at the local libraries will return at different times however.
“All 23 libraries are completely different facilities,” said Batdorf.
Arlington Library was one of the four libraries in the system that is not planned to be part of the Grab ‘n’ Go program at this time.
“In order to offer both in-person services and contact free-services we have to use that entryway and it’s so constrained there that there would be too much staff and customers moving through there,” said Batdorf. “All of the libraries were not able to open at this time have physical limitations like that."
The Lakewood/Smokey Point Library is scheduled for in-person services but has not been opened yet.
“I’m not sure when we are going to reopen the Lakewood library,” said Batdorf, but it can facilitate both in-person and contact-free services.
The Marysville Library has computer services available for those who want them at the library, but no book browsing at this time.
“We’ve converted the meeting room to the right of the entryway and that will work as a computer room,” said Batdorf.
Batdorf said he has been at libraries that have reopened and that people are excited to be able to go through the book shelves again.
“With the libraries that have reopened, the customers have all been ecstatic to actually get back in the libraries, touch the books and browse,” he said.
The library system will continue to plan how to reopen slowly, said Batdorf.
“We’re planning to reopen as much as we can but we have to make sure that employees and staff and customers are safe,” he said. “Every building will have its own plan."