Leslie Bringedahl and her husband, Mark, take a bag of books from circulation manager Carol Ellison during curbside pick-up at the Everett Public Library on Wednesday. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Leslie Bringedahl and her husband, Mark, take a bag of books from circulation manager Carol Ellison during curbside pick-up at the Everett Public Library on Wednesday. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Purchase Photo

Curbside service beckons bookworms to downtown Everett library

Books can be ordered by phone or online. The Sno-Isle library system plans to follow suit next week.

The Everett Public Library this week started offering curbside services with Phase 2 of the governor’s reopening plan.

Curbside check out and return at Everett’s main library is now available noon to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and noon to 5 p.m. Saturday. Go to Hoyt Avenue for pick-up; drop-off is near the parking garage on Everett Avenue.

“We are delighted to be taking these next steps to make the library more available to the citizens of Everett,” Everett Public Library director Abigail Cooley said. “We are a vital part of the community and want to provide as many resources and services as possible while keeping our customers and staff safe and healthy.”

Snohomish County libraries are allowed to provide limited services in Phase 2 of Gov. Jay Inslee’s four-phase reopening plan. The Everett Public Library, which has just over 42,000 active members over its two branches, is the first library to reopen in Snohomish County.

The main library launched its curbside services on June 15 — 10 days after Snohomish County was OK’d for Phase 2. Staff needed that time to prepare the building, the library’s collections and ensure they were meeting all local and state health and safety guidelines.

On Monday, Cooley said about 165 items were picked up and members filled two 40-gallon bins of returns at the drop off. Within the first half-hour of curbside service, the library had about 25 pick-ups. That’s about one curbside service per minute.

Tuesday saw 351 items checked out and 10 40-gallon bins of returns. Wednesday followed with 286 items picked up and five 40-gallon bins filled with returns, Cooley said.

During normal conditions, the library checks out about 2,000 items a day, she said.

Here’s how to pick up: Members may request library materials by calling the library at 425-257-8000 or by logging into their accounts at www.epls.org. You’ll be alerted when requested items are available for check-out.

When picking up books at the library, call the number posted on the sign. Library staff will check out your materials and bring them to the curb.

If you’re dropping off: During curbside service hours, returns also will be accepted in specially marked bins on the Everett Avenue side of the building. Members are asked to place items into the bins, as staff are not allowed to touch newly returned items.

Curbside service is a socially distant, contactless service. All library staff wear a mask and maintain at least 6 feet of distance from others. Members are asked to wear masks when visiting the library to pick up or drop off library materials.

In accordance with Phase 2, library materials are quarantined for 72 hours to allow for the virus to die off before being loaned to another member. Expect delays for requested materials because of the added quarantine time.

“There is a learning curve,” Cooley said. “We’re taking our time to make plans, but even the best-laid plans have to sometimes change. We learn that in practice, they’re not working like we expected, or we get new information from the state or the county. Things change at a rapid pace, so we’re constantly changing as well.”

Cooley noted that the Everett Public Library wasn’t planning to reopen until Phase 3. But then Inslee updated his plan to include limited library services in Phase 2. So staff got to work on carrying out their plans for limited service.

Books are filed alphabetically and ready for curbside pick-up at the Everett Public Library on Wednesday. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Books are filed alphabetically and ready for curbside pick-up at the Everett Public Library on Wednesday. (Andy Bronson / The Herald) Purchase Photo

Due dates on materials checked out before the coronavirus hit Everett have been extended until Aug. 31. Library materials may be returned before that date, but members are encouraged to keep them at home for now. No fines will be applied to library accounts at this time.

Library staff are available by phone 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday to help place holds on materials, recommend books and answer reference or account questions. Call 425-257-8000 for assistance.

The Everett Public Library closed on March 12 because of the coronavirus outbreak. Although the library was closed, staff continued to provide access to electronic resources, like e-books and e-audiobooks, language classes, comic books and magazines, music, movie and TV shows. They also made some of their programs virtual by posting videos on the website and Facebook for storytime, book clubs and more.

“I think a lot of people forget that we have all these resources,” Cooley said. “This is a great time getting a little bit lost in all these resources.”

Everett’s eLibrary has been busier than ever during the shutdown. Cooley said the library has seen a 50% increase in downloads and streaming services since March. She also said nearly 1,000 new library cards were issued online.

“Since our March closure, the staff has been exceptional at pivoting to offer resources and services to our users,” Cooley said. “While the world seemed to stop for a bit, it is evident … that the community’s love for reading and the library never wavered.”

Cooley said there are plans to reopen the Evergreen branch of the library, 9512 Evergreen Way, Everett, within the next few weeks.

“We definitely recognize a need for services at the Evergreen branch,” she said. “We thank everybody for their patience and graciousness as we work through this and toward being able to provide those services again.”

Sara Bruestle: 425-339-3046; sbruestle@heraldnet.com; @sarabruestle.

If you go

The Everett Public Library, 2702 Hoyt Ave., Everett, is offering curbside pick-up and drop-offs noon to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and noon to 5 p.m. Saturday. Call 425-257-8000 or log in to your account at www.epls.org to check out materials.

Sno-Isle Library to reopen in Phase 2 next week

If you don’t have an Everett Public Library card, know that Sno-Isle Libraries plans to reopen next week.

Sno-Isle Libraries had a “soft opening” this week in which members who had reserved materials before the coronavirus shutdown were notified to go to their local library for check-outs and returns.

All 23 libraries in Snohomish and Island counties will offer contactless services starting Monday not unlike the curbside pick-up and drop-off at the Everett Public Library. The libraries have been closed since March 13.

Lois Langer Thompson, Sno-Isle Libraries executive director, reported on the library system’s website that masks, gloves and sanitizer has been delivered to all 23 libraries. Thompson said there had been shipment delays because of the virus, but that the supplies were delivered last week.

Since returns will need to be quaratined for at least 72 hours, Thompson noted that Sno-Isle now has more copies of the most popular titles and authors to reduce wait times. She also encourages members to check out its eLibrary services such as e-books and e-magazines, as well as TV show and movie downloads.

Sno-Isle Libraries is scheduled to release its Phase 2 plan for all 23 branches on its website Friday. Call 360-651-7000 or go to www.sno-isle.org for more information.

— Sara Bruestle

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