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News >  Washington

Spokane County Library District to reopen buildings in March

UPDATED: Tue., Feb. 23, 2021

Amy Fair, center, a public services associate with the Spokane County Library District, carries books to be checked out to a waiting patron in the parking lot on Tuesday, June 16, 2020, at the North Spokane Library in Spokane, Wash.   (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Amy Fair, center, a public services associate with the Spokane County Library District, carries books to be checked out to a waiting patron in the parking lot on Tuesday, June 16, 2020, at the North Spokane Library in Spokane, Wash.  (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)

The Spokane County Library District is reopening library buildings to the public early next month.

For much of the past year, the district’s 11 libraries have operated through curbside pickup amid the coronavirus pandemic. After briefly reopening for in November, the buildings closed again after less than a week due to a rise in COVID-19 cases throughout the county.

Curbside pickup will continue when the libraries reopen starting March 8.

Hours will be from noon to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The library district is also introducing a dedicated time for high-risk customers on Tuesdays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to noon. While libraries will not police patrons who visit, the hours are typically meant for customers 65 and older or those who have medical conditions that puts them at higher risk of COVID-19, said Jane Baker, the library district’s communication and development director.

The move follows Gov. Jay Inslee’s guidance for Phase 2 reopening for most regions across the state.

As such, district libraries will have several mandates in place, including mask requirements, 6-foot social distancing parameters and a 25% occupancy limit. Patrons will also be told to limit visits to 30 minutes or less, while no food or drinks will be allowed.

“The reopening requirements are a challenge that our libraries will adhere to while still offering as many services as possible,” the district said in a statement. “We wish that as a library we could to 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.”

The district said hand sanitizer will be available at all service desks and other locations throughout each facility. Meanwhile, returned materials will be quarantined for 24 hours after collection from the book drop before returning to circulation.

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