Libraries Reopen to Rave Reviews

Modified In-Building Services Draw Eager Patrons

There was no way anyone was going to get ahead of her in line.

“She’s been waiting 14 months for this,” said Kari C. of her 11-year-old daughter. “She is a voracious reader, and this is literally her favorite place in the world.”

That place is Snoqualmie Library, which reopened April 6. The girl, Brielle C., was the first to walk through the open door, arms upraised in triumph. She made a beeline for “her” shelves and sat, intently reading for more than an hour before leaving with a bagful of books.

“She told me, ‘I just want to sit and read books,’ ” her mom said. “She’s so happy!”
On the warm spring day, Snoqualmie Librarian Irene W. greeted passersby, including kids on scooters, who stopped to detour into the library.

“Our staff has been waiting for this, too,” she said. “It’s so exciting! It’s been a long, long wait.”
Jamie L. agreed. She came to the library to pick up holds, not realizing it was open.

“This is my home library and now I can browse books!” she said. “It gives me a sneak preview of what I can check out.”

Snoqualmie was among seven KCLS libraries in April to reopen after being closed for more than a year, offering expanded access through modified in-building services. The others were Enumclaw, Federal Way 320th, Woodinville, Vashon, Boulevard Park and Lake Hills, bringing the total to 13. More libraries are scheduled to reopen in May.

In March, KCLS welcomed residents back to six other libraries–Kent, Fall City, Muckleshoot, Tukwila, Skykomish and Woodmont–with modified in-building or hybrid (in-building plus curbside) services. All libraries are adhering to state COVID-19 safety and health guidelines, including disinfecting spaces, limiting capacity, social distancing and mask-wearing.

At every reopening, patrons expressed not only delight, but gratitude and relief to be able to visit with library staff, use computers and browse the stacks. They also waited patiently while buildings were closed for one-hour cleanings, alternating with designated open hours.

One patron at the Federal Way 320th Library was so excited to be back, she took a cellphone video of herself singing, “Yay, I’m back in the building!”

Another patron danced her way into the Tukwila Library while others took selfies, and at Kent, one little girl wore her party dress to celebrate her visit.

“It’s like Christmas,” Anna R. told Ed Ronco during a KNKX radio interview at the Kent reopening. Visiting with her four kids, she told Ronco, “It feels normal, and we haven’t had a lot of normal this last year.”

Other developments at various libraries include Sammamish, which has opened for printing pickup, and Newport Way and Shoreline, which added Curbside to Go services.

Contactless services also include lockers for holds pickups at Bothell and Covington Libraries.

KCLS will continue to evaluate opportunities to reopen other libraries in accordance with health guidelines, said KCLS Executive Director Lisa Rosenblum, adding that the health and safety of the public and staff remain the top priority. Residents can find more information on our In-library and Contactless Services page.