Curbside pick-up at Twisp, Winthrop branches
North Central Washington Libraries has partially re-opened select branches with limited services, after a complete shutdown of library services in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.
While NCW Libraries are still not yet open to the public, book returns and curbside pick-up services are available at a number of sites, including both the Winthrop and Twisp branches, as of Aug. 12.
Library card holders are able to place holds on library materials by calling the branch or reserving materials online. The Winthrop and Twisp libraries offer curbside pick-up from 1-4 p.m., with the Winthrop branch operating Monday through Thursday and the Twisp branch operating Monday through Friday.
Materials are only available for reservation from the specific catalog available at each branch, as the floating collection which is shared among all NCW libraries is not available. NCW Libraries are not sending books between branches due to COVID-related operational issues, according to Michelle McNiel, NCW Libraries’ communications manager.
However, NCW does have plans to re-open the exchange of materials between branches on Sept. 14, according to McNiel, allowing library members to order materials for the entire NCW catalog.
The Winthrop library has been receiving “quite a few” returns since reopening the drop-off boxes, according to interim librarian Sarah Clune, who empties the return box twice a day before quarantining the materials for 72 hours.
Late fees are obviously not being applied, as books that were checked out in late winter are now making their way back to the library.
“We just want members to bring materials back, as well as check out new materials,” said Clune.
In addition to offering drop-off boxes and curbside pick-up, NCW is now providing STEM and craft take-home kits for elementary and middle school kids at both the Winthrop and Twisp branches. Two new kits will be available every week, as a supplement for at-home learning, on a first-come, first-served basis.
NCW is also offering teen- and adult-focused activity-kits for curbside pick-up as well. The take-home kits are scheduled to be available through November, with NCW planning to extend access to the kits as long as libraries are closed, according to McNiel.
Wi-Fi access is still available for free at both the Winthrop and Twisp branches as NCW has extended its broadband internet server connectivity to 600 feet, according to McNiel, which allows for users to spread out more.
“People have set up on the [Mack Lloyd Park] stage to work off of our Wi-Fi, and there are students sitting in the shade of the building using the Wi-Fi,” said Clune.
While both the Clune and Twisp librarian Dawn Woodruff noted that curbside pick-up has slowed the amount of check-outs, both librarians have been staying busy fielding calls from library members looking to reserve materials or get book suggestions.
And, as for reading suggestions during the pandemic, Clune suggests a book entitled “More Deadly Than War,” a history of the 1918 Spanish flu, as a good read for a “historical comparison to the times we’re living in now.” Woodruff has noticed that “gardening and cookbooks” have become popular categories at the curbside pick-up.