North Olympic Peninsula libraries open to some in-person browsing

Short sessions include distance protocols

This feels a lot like a holiday to Melody Eisler, who today opens the doors of the Port Townsend Library.

Her counterpart, Jefferson County Library director Tamara Meredith, is likewise welcoming people back for what’s called grab-and-go book browsing.

“It’s so joyful to see people,” said Eisler, the city library’s director, even if it’s just for 10 or 15 minutes.

Noah Glaude, director of the North Olympic Library System’s libraries in Forks, Clallam Bay, Sequim and Port Angeles, also enjoyed people’s reactions as they were being invited inside of the library.

“We did a soft rollout on Friday and Saturday, and behind their masks, you could see people smiling,” Glaude said.

Today all four NOLS buildings are open again for short browsing sessions and self checkout of books, DVDs and audiobooks.

The libraries in Port Townsend and Port Hadlock will continue to offer curbside pickup of books placed on hold via PTPublicLibrary.org and JCLibrary.info.

Laptops and tablet computers are still available for checkout and use in the parking lot areas too, and the free wi-fi is always on at both Jefferson County locations.

Both libraries offer wireless printing of documents, with how-to information on their websites.

For people who want to do some serendipitous searching, as Eisler puts it, the browsing hours vary:

• The Port Townsend Library, 1220 Lawrence St., is open from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays and from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays;

• The Jefferson County Library, 620 Cedar Ave., Port Hadlock, is open from noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Computer sessions of 30 minutes or less from noon to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday can be reserved via the library website.

Curbside pickup of library materials, meanwhile, continues to run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at the Port Townsend Library.

At the Jefferson County Library, curbside service runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

The library websites are portals to nearly 200,000 free books, DVDs, CDs, e-books, audiobooks and streaming videos, Meredith said. The bookmobile circulates across Jefferson County too, offering browsing on various days of the week; the schedule is on the county library site.

For people who can’t go to the bookmobile or the library building because of illness, age or disability, free home delivery can be arranged. Information about all services is also available by phoning 360-385-3181 for the Port Townsend Library or 360-385-6544 for the county library.

In Clallam County, the new in-library browsing hours vary by branch:

• In Forks, Port Angeles and Sequim, libraries are open from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays and from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays;

• In Clallam Bay, the library is open from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays and from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Fridays.

Curbside pickup hours also vary:

• In Port Angeles and Forks, pickup service runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays;

• In Sequim, curbside delivery runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday; from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday and from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday;

• In Clallam Bay, curbside pickup is from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Wednesday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday and Friday.

Because of the tight space at the Sequim Library entrance, curbside service is limited during in-person browsing, Glaude said.

Curbside service has been popular, with 55,000 of those visits to Clallam libraries since June, Glaude said, adding he and his staff look forward to restoring other services, such as in-library computer sessions.

The library system offers free home delivery of library materials to anyone who can’t go to a local branch because of age, illness or disability; for information, phone 360-417-8500, ext. 7708, or see NOLS.org/homebound-people.

When visiting these public libraries, all pandemic safety protocols must be practiced: masks worn snugly over the nose and mouth, and at least 6 feet of distance from others outside one’s household.

The Port Townsend Library has another way to facilitate meetings: the Virtual Pink House community room. Named after the library’s Charles Pink House, it’s available to book clubs and other groups that meet the criteria.

These groups can use the library’s Zoom account to facilitate their video meetings, Eisler said, provided they’re between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Librarians are also ready to teach beginners how to use the free technology, she noted.

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Jefferson County senior reporter Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-417-3509 or [email protected] peninsuladailynews.com.

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