Road to Reopening
Status of Library services at a glance: Bookmark this page for the latest information. Updated Aug. 6, 2020
When can I start borrowing books again?
Limited curbside pickup service begins at select Library locations in August, available by appointment (yes, you’ll be able to pick up on foot, too). Visit spl.org/Curbside to learn more about locations and hours, how to schedule an appointment, and how to pick up your holds.
When can I return my books?
The Library is now accepting returns at 12 Library locations across the city, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from noon to 6 p.m., or until book returns are full. You may drop off your items at any of these locations:
- Central Library
- Ballard Branch
- Beacon Hill Branch
- Broadview Branch
- Columbia Branch
- Douglass-Truth Branch
- Green Lake Branch
- High Point Branch
- Lake City Branch
- Northeast Branch
- Rainier Beach Branch
- Southwest Branch
Reminder: due dates have been extended until Sept. 15 and there are no overdue fines, so don’t feel rushed to return your Library materials.
When are my books due?
Due dates are extended until at least Sept. 15, and we are a fine-free Library system, so there is no rush to return items, and you can take the time you need.
You can help us with the reopening process by checking your account for holds you have placed on physical items and deleting those that you no longer need.
All returned items will be quarantined – and remain on your account – for a minimum of 3 days before being checked in.
When can I visit Library buildings again?
At this time, our buildings are still primarily closed to the public to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in our community. We do not have a target date for reopening our buildings to the public. We do, however, currently offer daily limited public restroom access at five Library locations from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Library has canceled in-person public Library programs, as well as meeting room bookings, until at least Sept. 7.
What's available online?
To help meet community interest, we have invested in more e-materials throughout our closure. Homebound Seattle residents can explore our vast inventory of learning and entertainment resources, including e-books (see expanded “Always Available ” lists), streaming services, learning resources and more. Library staff are also ready to answer your phone call or chat or email through Ask Us.
Can I donate my used books to the Library?
The Library is not able to accept book donations at this time and does not anticipate being able to accept donations throughout the summer. Please do not leave books or other materials you wish to donate at Library sites.
Common questions about our COVID-19 closure
What Library services are available during this COVID-19 closure?
We continue to provide the many digital services you have come to love, such as our Ask Us reference service (available by phone, chat and email); e-books and e-audiobooks; streaming TV, movie and music services; digital subscriptions to newspapers and magazines; and more. We are also hosting a number of virtual programs, such as story times on Facebook Live, virtual Play and Learn groups, programs for people ages 50 and older, business trainings and more. See spl.org/calendar for a full list.
You can also see a list of our digital services at spl.org/StayingHome.
I don’t have a Library card. Can I apply for one online?
Yes! If you don’t have an active account with The Seattle Public Library, go to spl.org/card to sign up for a digital Library card. To be eligible, you must be 13 years or older, live in Seattle and have a mobile phone to verify your account. People who successfully sign up will get immediate access to the OverDrive collection of 200,000 e-books and e-audiobooks, and to the rest of the Library’s resources within two or three days.
Also, through our Library Link program, if you are a Seattle Public School student in grades K-12, or a Seattle Public School teacher in grades K-12, you can access the Library’s digital books and online resources. Find out more at spl.org/LibraryLink.
I have a Library card, but can’t figure out how to sign into my account online.
Have due dates been extended?
Due dates for all materials have been extended to Sept. 15, 2020. Due dates may be further extended once the Library has set a reopening date. We will post an update once we have that information.
How can I stay up to date on Library operations during the closure and what’s available?
We will post updates to this page and our social media channels on Facebook and Twitter. When there are major updates, such as anticipated re-openings or extended closures, we will reach out to patrons via email as well.
Can I contact the Library through chat, email or phone during the closure?
What is happening to holds I’ve already placed on physical materials, and can I place new holds?
All holds that you may have placed on physical items prior to our systemwide closure are still on our hold shelves and will show as “ready” in your account. We are not currently allowing new holds to be placed on physical materials. Once our limited curbside pickup service is ready to launch, we will contact patrons with existing holds to let them know their pickup options and we will once again allow for new holds on materials.
You can help us get ready for curbside pickup service by reviewing your holds and cancelling any you no longer want.
What is happening in Library buildings while they are closed?
King County has been approved for Phase 2 activities in the Governor’s Safe Start Washington plan, which allows some Library staff to conduct in-building work. That work includes:
- maintaining the systems and security of our Library buildings;
- providing safe public restroom access at five locations;
- processing and shelving returned materials;
- cleaning and disinfecting buildings;
- setting up health and safety protocols for staff;
- and preparing for the launch of limited curbside pickup service for physical materials.
Other Library staff have been working remotely to:
- develop a Road to Reopening plan;
- answer patron questions seven days a week via telephone, chat and email;
- transition in-person programs – such as job help and support for small businesses – to virtual programs;
- collaborate with Seattle Public Schools and other community partners in supporting the learning needs of students, parents and teachers;
- and more
Will library parking garages remain open during this closure?
Most library parking garages are closed for the duration of the Library’s closure. The Central Library parking garage, however, is open during its regular hours: Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday, 8:45 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Will the Bookmobile or Books by Mail be available during the closure?
Mobile services, including Bookmobile activities, have been suspended during the early part of our closure, but we are working with community partners to offer limited mobile delivery service in the near future.