Bellingham Public Library resumed limited services this week, allowed during Phase 2 of Governor Jay Inslee's Safe Start plan, while the doors of its three branches remain closed to patrons until Phase 3.
Library Director Rebecca Judd said the first step of resuming library services is inviting patrons to return items they checked out before facilities closed in mid-March. The outdoor book returns were reopened today (Monday, June 8) at the Central Library only.
“While we can't open our buildings to patrons until Phase 3, we opened the outdoor book returns at the Central Library to accept items people have been enjoying during the closure," Rebecca Judd, Bellingham Public Library director, said. “If you need to keep them a little longer, that is alright, too, as all due dates have been extended to July 1," she added.
She said books and other items being returned will be quarantined for three days before they are handled by staff. This step is being used by libraries across the country as an extra measure of caution to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, she said.
Curbside pickup coming June 15
Starting Monday, June 15 Bellingham Public Library will begin offering patrons the opportunity to place holds and pick items up in front of the Central Library. This service has been designed to be contact-free, with staff bringing items outside to a sanitized pick-up table.
“Our patrons have been so looking forward to having new books to read, audiobooks to hear, and new DVDs to watch," Judd said. “We are very pleased to be able to offer curbside holds pick-up as part of our services during Phase 2."
Judd said when curbside service begins on June 15, it will be available 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday at the Central Library location only. Visit the Curbside Holds Pick-Up Services page of the library website for details about how to use this service.
Other library services being offered while library facilities are closed to patrons include:
Expanded telephone call center hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday, (360) 778-7323
Virtual storytimes: Storytime teachers are filming storytime classes at home. They are posted on the City's YouTube page and distributed through library Facebook and Twitter pages, where they are being enjoyed by fans of all ages.
“Our videos offer all the same early literacy practices our families know and love," Judd said. “During this time, when our family routines are disrupted, it is wonderful for our library kids and the adults in their lives to see our familiar faces, singing familiar songs, following the comforting, familiar pattern of storytime."
Online Summer Reading Program: Summer Reading programs are a great tradition at all Whatcom County and Bellingham Public Libraries. This year is no exception with downloadable Summer Reading bingo cards. Summer reading engages readers of all ages with ideas for things to read or do. Bingo-style cards are available for early years, kids, teens and adults. Everyone can participate! Check out our Summer Reading page for details.
Library digital services: This is a great time to check out library digital services, such as eFIlms, eBooks, eAudiobooks, eMagazines, online computer and language learning classes, and more.
Donations: Judd said no donations of books and other items are being accepted while library facilities are closed to the public.
For more information about library services during COVID-19, visit www.bellinghampubliclibrary.org or call the library during Call Center hours.