Director's Blog: Mask Requirements and Library Services

Submitted by A. Shelley on Fri, 01/07/2022 - 16:10

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, the Washington Department of Labor and Industries and the Center for Disease Control’s guidance 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

FVRLibraries strongly believes that wearing a mask significantly reduces the transmission of the COVID-19 virus. Our intent is to ensure the continued safety of our library users and staff. Please be kind to our employees and considerate of others. Those choosing not to comply will be asked to leave.

We are also required to provide a safe workplace for our staff. Our Board of Library 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. All locations have disposable masks available for your convenience. We appreciate your support!

FVRLibraries' policy is more restrictive than the Washington State Secretary of Health’s Order 20.03-6 and does not allow for medical exemptions. Those seeking an exemption will be offered alternative ways of accessing library services including:

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

What makes a mask compliant?

Masks are only effective when constructed and worn to prevent the spread of airborne particles. While specific mask requirements are not spelled out in our policy, we follow the guidance of the Center for Disease Control and the Washington State Departments of Labor and Industry and Health

Masks must:

  • 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
  • While a face shield is not a substitute for a cloth face covering, a face shield with a (cloth) drape/extension attached along the entire edge of the shield can be used for people with medical, developmental or behavioral conditions.

FVRL is taking this action as a response to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic and the contagious nature of the Delta and Omicron variants 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. Our intent is to ensure the continued safety of our library users and staff. Please be kind!

Open hours

Most FVRLibraries are open from 10 am to 6 pm, Monday through Saturday. Some locations may offer reduced hours or curbside only, depending on staff availability. Vancouver Community Library and Vancouver Mall Library are also open on Sunday

Check your local library’s schedule for a complete list of days and hours. 

Currently, we offer the following library services:

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.

  • For now, we will continue to offer only virtual programs.
  • Some limited use of our meeting rooms will begin with Friends of the Library activities and other community partners such as blood drives and tax assistance.
  • The Early Learning Center on the third floor of Vancouver Community Library remains closed at this time due to concerns over COVID exposure. We are working on a plan to reopen the space in early 2022 with limited access through scheduled visits.

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 contact us. We look forward to serving you at your local library!

-Amelia Shelley, Executive Director
January 7, 2021