PIERCE COUNTY, Washington – The Pierce County Library System’s buildings will be closed to the public starting, Saturday, March 14, to help slow the spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic 2019 (COVID-19).
“Safety to the thousands of people we serve is our top priority,” said Pierce County Library Executive Director Georgia Lomax. “We are balancing our desire and commitment to provide outstanding service the community values and needs, while ensuring we are doing our part to protect the health of the public and our staff during this emerging health crisis.”
On Monday, March 16, staff will be in the libraries, and they will begin assessing how to best serve residents while its 20 libraries are closed to the public. Specific, limited services will be available to the public as they become ready. Possibilities may include videotaping story times and posting those online and allowing people to pick up print books, movies and other materials they reserved online.
As this pandemic is a constantly evolving situation, the Library will continue to adjust and respond quickly. At this time, it is not setting a time period for this temporary closure, or a date when the libraries will reopen to the public. Library leaders will evaluate regularly and make decisions based on the current situation, recommendations from public health and government leaders, and the Library System’s principles and commitment to communities.
Also, effective immediately, starting today, March 13, the Library System will stop charging fines on overdue books and materials, to give people grace during this disruptive time. The Library still expects people to return materials for others to check out, but it wants to alleviate any further stress residents are already feeling because of COVID-19.
Pierce County Library encourages people to check out e-books, audiobooks and magazines online from their homes. It also recommends people check out its many online resources. From live tutors to help students with homework to resources to help people learn new languages, the Library offers rich online services which are ideal as people are practicing social distancing and staying home more.
On March 12, the Library System took the following measures to help stop the spread of COVID-19:
- Postponed Pierce County READS, the Library’s community-one book program. The Library plans to reschedule this author event for the fall.
- Canceled all public meetings in public meeting rooms.
- Canceled library services in the community, such as story times in early learning centers.