October 12, 2021: Director's Update and Frequently Asked Questions

A letter from our director

FVRLibraries is pleased to serve our communities and users despite the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic. We continue to follow the advice from the State Department of Health and the Washington Department of Labor and Industries for maintaining a safe environment for our patrons and staff. We appreciate your support of these efforts to help us put an end to the COVID-19 pandemic.

MASKS REQUIRED AT ALL LIBRARY LOCATIONS

FVRL’s Board of Trustees passed an Additional Rules of Conduct Policy on August 16, 2021 that requires library visitors over the age of 5 to wear a mask covering their nose and mouth at all times. This policy is more restrictive than the Washington State Secretary of Health’s Order 20.03-6.

FVRL’s Additional Rules of Conduct Policy applies to all FVRL locations, and includes people who have received the COVID-19 vaccination and those with medical exemptions. If you are unable to wear a mask for any reason, the following accommodations are available to allow you to continue to access our library services:

  • Curbside pickup of holds and print jobs
  • Online or virtual resources and services
  • Books by mail

Masks must meet the following requirements:

  • Completely cover the nose and mouth
  • Fit snugly against the sides of the face
  • Be secured with ear loops, ties, elastic bands or other effective method
  • Be at least one layer of tightly woven fabric with no visible holes

FVRL is taking this action in large part as a response to the increase in COVID-19 cases and the contagious nature of the Delta variant of the virus. Staff will ask you to keep your mask on or adjust it if necessary to ensure your mask is doing its job. Failure to comply with staff requests may result in exclusion. Our intent is to ensure the continued safety of our library users and staff. Please be kind!

OPEN HOURS

All FVRLibraries are open from 10 am to 6 pm, Monday through Saturday. Some locations are open longer, depending on staffing and schedules. Check your local library’s schedule for a complete list of days and hours. Our libraries in La Center, Ridgefield, Washougal, Woodland and Yale Valley Libraries are now open on Saturdays.

Currently, we offer the following library services:

  • Browse for materials
  • Access a computer
  • Print and copy
  • Get reference and account assistance
  • Find Check Out Washington backpacks with Discover Passes
  • Borrow Chromebooks and hot spot kits
  • Use curbside pickup for holds

LIBRARY PROGRAMS AND PUBLIC SPACES

We apologize that many of the programs, spaces and other amenities you have come to love about your libraries are not available. Thank you for your patience as we continue to adhere to pandemic standards for safety.

  • We will continue to offer only virtual programs through the end of 2021. We have some challenges to overcome, including careful planning for children too young to get immunized against COVID-19.
  • Our meeting rooms are doing double duty for storage and not available for public use.
  • Our early learning areas will remain closed due to the challenges of providing a safe environment for unimmunized children in these areas.

TOUCHLESS SERVICES

Many of our users have let us know how much they have appreciated the convenience of curbside pickups for library holds. We will continue to offer curbside, although hours may vary at different locations based on staff availability. You can also access our 24/7 digital library resources at fvrl.org to access the thousands of eBooks, eAudiobooks, music, movies, and much more online as well as download Experience Passes for free access to local attractions.

OTHER PRECAUTIONS

Hand sanitizer is available at all service desks and at the entrance to the library. Library seating will remain limited so that we can provide adequate space between users. All anticipated restrictions are subject to the direction and guidelines of the State of Washington and our local authorities.

If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to us at ask.fvrl.org or call us at 360-906-5000. We look forward to serving you at your local library!

-Amelia Shelley, Executive Director
October 12, 2021

Questions about FVRL’s coronavirus response

Is the library fully open again?

We have restored our full hours of operation and access for the public. We have also expanded hours in four locations from five to six days a week.

What can I do at the library?

Currently, our libraries offer unlimited browsing as well as computer access of up to one hour at all locations. Seating is still limited and we are not currently offering any in-person programming.

Who needs to wear a mask?

Everyone over the age of five is required to wear a mask. FVRL's Board of Trustees passed an Additional Rules of Conduct policy that requires all visitors to wear a mask while using the library. Masks are encouraged for children ages two to four with parental supervision. Masks are available upon request.

What if I don't want to wear a mask?

You are welcome to use our curbside service or our online, phone, and email services to meet your needs.

Why are services still limited?

We have made many changes over the past sixteen months and need a little time to restore some services. Programming for children is still under COVID-restrictions as that group cannot yet access vaccinations. Like other public institutions in the community, our top priority is keeping our staff and the public safe, and preventing the community spread of COVID-19.

Can I still use curbside service?

Yes! We encourage you to keep using curbside if it is working well for you. Some FVRL locations may begin to reduce the number of hours that curbside is available or may no longer offer it due to declining demand.

Can I use a meeting or study room?

Study rooms are currently available for reservations at several locations. New masking restrictions and an increase in COVID-19 cases may delay our ability to reopen access to meeting rooms as they may be needed to provide space for staff activities.

When will more computers be available?

For now, we are limiting the length of time users are allowed to access a computer to one hour to ensure everyone has access. Most locations offer Chromebooks that can be checked out for up to two hours for those needing more time. We are working with our staff to replace equipment and furnishings that were removed due to social distancing and cleaning requirements during earlier phases. This may take some time and we appreciate your patience.

Can I print?

Yes, library printers are available! FVRL has new printing rules that give library card holders $3.00 worth of free printing each week. That equals 30 pages of black and white copies or prints, or 6 pages of color printing each week.

How soon will you offer storytimes?

Because children under 12 have not been able to be vaccinated, and no specific guidance for in-library children’s programming has been issued by the state, we are not sure how soon we will resume storytimes.

When will you offer in-person programs?

FVRL will continue to offer virtual programs until we feel confident we can provide a safe experience for patrons and staff. We are determining the appropriate mix of in-person/virtual/hybrid programming for the future.

Is there a risk that library materials carry COVID-19?

No, the Center for Disease Control and the Washington Department of Health have determined that library materials do not spread COVID-19 between users. We are no longer quarantining items before checking in, shelving, or fulfilling holds.

Can I return my books?

You can return your books to any library book return.

Is your Wi-Fi available?

Yes, Wi-Fi is available 24/7 at all FVRL locations. We also have a limited supply of Wi-Fi hotspots available to check out. For a full list of local Wi-Fi locations, see the Washington Wi-Fi map.

Can I get help with a question or using my eDevice?

Yes, our staff is available in person, by phone, and online to assist you with questions about library resources or to help you access our downloadable content.

When will the library board start meeting in person?

Public meetings are still under the Governor’s order 20-05 and 20-28 with the option of being held remotely. FVRL is still determining when they will return to in-person meetings. Information about library board meetings is available on the Board of Trustees page. Public comments can be submitted in writing at trustees@fvrl.org.