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King County libraries move to Phase 4 this month

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Libraries across King County will advance to Phase 4 on June 30, and all remaining library buildings will be open by July 13.

After the coronavirus pandemic swept through the county early in 2020, libraries were shuttered. Since then, the libraries have adapted by offering curbside services and slowly reopening. Entering Phase 4, the final step towardreopening, means that all libraries will again reopen for service, and in-building services will gradually resume.

This includes manual book drops along with self-check-in stations. Locker pickups will continue at the Bothell and Covington libraries, but “curbside to go” service will end. Masks and physical distancing requirements will still remain in place until further notice.

The last day to pick up curbside books at the Fall City Library will be June 26, and July 1 at North Bend Library. Books under hold will still be available to pick up inside the library.

“We look forward to welcoming patrons back into all of our library buildings,” said King County Library System Executive Director Lisa Rosenblum in a press release. “We know this is the moment many of you have been waiting for, and we are happy it is nearly here.”

The closures of the library system were unprecedented in King County since the system was founded during World War II. During the closure, staff conducted training and hosted digital story times and online programming.

The importance of libraries goes beyond providing books and reading materials for many people. It also provides a vital link to the internet for people who otherwise don’t have access.

Throughout the pandemic, several libraries were outfitted with WiFi upgrades for their buildings. These boosted the signal beyond the parking lots and allowed people to hop online outside the buildings.

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Aaron Kunkler

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Aaron Kunkler