Kitsap Regional Library will close Tuesday, March 18 in response to coronavirus pandemic, officials with the library system have announced.
Local library branches — including the Bainbridge Public Library — will stay closed until at least April 20 to help mitigate the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
“This is one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make,” said Kitsap Regional Library Director Jill Jean. “But, it is imperative that we all do our part to slow the spread of COVID-19.”
KRL said the agency’s decision came quickly after the library district’s announcement on Thursday it was going to cancel all classes, events and meeting room booking and remove children’s toys from public areas.
“Kitsap Regional Library is taking care to balance this responsibility with the needs of our patrons. While the library is unfortunately closing for several weeks, we will be open regular hours for the next four days to allow for many of our community members who will be home during this time to enjoy the benefits of the Library,” Jean said.
Until Tuesday, Kitsap Regional Library will be offering limited service. Patrons can visit and pick up holds or browse the shelves.
Library staff are encouraging visitors to sue self-checkout stations.
While open, library branches will be following recommended guidelines for social distancing.
In order to protect staff and community, visits will be limited to selecting materials for home use. Officials said seating areas will be closed for use along with public computers and other technology.
After March 18, book drops will be closed and patrons are being asked to keep the items they have checked out until the Library reopens.
KRL said due dates will be adjusted accordingly.
While the library is closed, KRL is encouraging people to use the library’s online resources and services. Kitsap residents can sign up for a free digital eCard for access to eBooks, audiobooks, music and eMagazines or explore online education tools like Lynda.com or research databases and more.
KRL said it is continuing to review recommendations of public health officials and will adjust services to provide the best possible service to the Kitsap community.
Other library systems in Puget Sound have also shut down because of the COVID-19 crisis.
Sno-Isle Libraries, the system that serves Snohomish and Island counties, announced its buildings would close to the public at 6 p.m., Friday, March 13.
Sno-Isle Libraries officials have not determined how long it will stay closed.
The King County Library System said it was closing all its libraries starting Friday, March 13 and said the closures will remain in effect until at least April 13, or until further notice.