Starting on Tuesday, April 27, The Seattle Public Library will offer limited in-building services at three locations: Lake City Branch (12501 28th Ave. N.E., Seattle), Southwest Branch (9010 35th Ave. S.W.) and Beacon Hill Branch (2821 Beacon Ave. S., Seattle).

The schedule for in-building services will be Tuesday through Saturday from noon to 6 p.m. with closed cleaning breaks between public use sessions. Patrons will be able to enter the buildings at 25% capacity during public use sessions to pick up available holds and check them out, use a physically distanced computer, use a restroom, speak to a Library staff member, charge a device or sit and read. Masks will be required of all patrons and staff.

The opportunity to browse a branch’s collection or use meeting rooms or study rooms will not be available initially. The Library will continue to expand services and access to the collection and other Library spaces as state health guidance, Library safety protocols, and staffing allow.

These are the first three branches to offer in-building services since the Library’s systemwide building closure in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. More locations will open incrementally as it is safe and feasible to do so, similar to the rollout of the Library’s Curbside Pickup Service that began last August and is now provided at 15 libraries.

Highlights of in-building services include:

  • Public sessions: Patrons may enter the building when a public use session (around 90 minutes) begins; once the capacity limit is reached, the Library will allow new patrons to enter only as others leave. Patrons may enter the Library for multiple time blocks a day. In between public sessions, Library staff will clean and reset the interior space.
  • Physically distanced layout: Seating, tables, computer stations and other furniture have been rearranged to enable physical distancing. Plexiglass will be installed between computers and in other service areas.
  • Computers, wi-fi, printing: Library cardholders can use public computers on a first come first served basis for up to two hours a day. Patrons will be able to print, copy or scan up to 10 pages of black-and-white pages for free a day (faxing is also available at the Beacon Hill Branch). Staff assistance with technology support or information requests will be offered at a distance. Free wi-fi is also available.
  • Charging stations: Two charging stations at each location will allow patrons to charge their devices. As with computers, these will be available on a first come first served basis.
  • Safety first. Masks will be required for all patrons, staff and visitors entering Library buildings; disposable masks and hand sanitizer will be available on site. (If you require an accommodation, call 206-386-4636.) Eating and drinking in public areas of the building will not be allowed. As always, the Library Rules of Conduct will be enforced to ensure the safety of patrons and staff.
  • No meeting room use: For now, meeting rooms and study rooms will remain closed to the public.


Learn more about in-building Library services at Curbside Pickup Service for holds will continue to be available at 12 other locations and bookdrops (which also accept DVDs and audiobooks) will continue to be open at 19 locations. Check for a complete list of services and hours at each branch.

With King County now in Phase 3, the Library is permitted to allow up to 50 percent capacity (which includes patrons and staff). After it pilots in-building services, the Library may increase allowed capacity, assuming the county remains in Phase 3.


In order to minimize the spread of COVID-19, patrons should wear face coverings and maintain six feet of separation from other patrons and staff. The Library will continue to follow best practices for the health and safety of our patrons and staff, including social distancing, regular cleaning and sanitation, wearing personal protective equipment, requiring the use of face masks, plexiglass barriers and quarantining of Library materials.

The Library’s Road to Reopening page shares the latest updates on our reopening process.

Contact the Library’s Ask Us service by phone at 206-386-4636 or by email or chat at Staff are ready to answer questions and direct you to helpful resources and information.