It has been a very busy month for the King County Library System, as we expand public access to services and our collection in a number of ways.
On February 1, several libraries began hosting free COVID-19 vaccination clinics, which will run through March. They are being held in partnership with Public Health–Seattle & King County. As of February 15 these clinics have enabled 220 people to receive COVID-19 shots, including boosters, for themselves and their children (five and older). Fourteen clinics have been scheduled at Tukwila, Enumclaw, Auburn and Federal Way Libraries. The library sites were selected according to Public Health data showing cities with lower vaccination rates. As trusted sources of information and assistance, public libraries are well versed in connecting community members to important resources. We are proud of public-health partnerships that provide easy and convenient ways for people to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
Ease of access and convenience also have increased with the February installation of four new exterior lockers, giving patrons even more options for 24/7 pickup of materials.
On February 11, KCLS hosted Tukwila Mayor Allan Ekberg and Washington State Librarian Sara Jones at a public ribbon cutting for a new set of pickup lockers at the Tukwila Library. Three other newly-installed units–at Woodinville, Kirkland and Federal Way 320th–also are ready for holds pickups, making a total of six sets of lockers System-wide. KCLS was among the first large library systems in the country to install lockers in 2020, responding to the need for contactless pickups of items due to the coronavirus. The popularity of the first two lockers–at Bothell and Covington Libraries–convinced us to apply for grant funding that has allowed this service expansion.
We know that another recent development is heartily welcomed by our patrons: more open hours at our libraries.
On February 27, KCLS will expand the open hours of many library buildings to six days a week, including Saturday and Sunday hours at some locations. Nearly all libraries will add a day of service to their schedules, resulting in a 20% increase in open hours overall. All libraries will be open later in the evenings on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. All locations will also be open earlier on other days to serve as many patrons as possible.
The days of the week will vary by location, so please check our website for the new hours of your local library.
Throughout the pandemic, KCLS has taken an incremental approach to reopening our libraries to public access, in accordance with state and public health mandates. We have remained committed to the health and safety of our staff and patrons while providing as many resources and opportunities as possible.
Hosting the clinics, expanding open hours and tripling the number of lockers are all ways KCLS is responding to community needs and interests.
But at the end of the day, there is something special about an in-person visit to a library, so we hope to see you soon!