It’s been over a year, but the Tigard Public Library is finally open again to members of the public.
After 13 long months of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Library re-opened to in-person service on April 26. A few things remain on hold, including the use of small study rooms, but most services that local residents know and love are back, while some COVID-era services will remain alongside them.
With Washington County being placed by the state back into the “high-risk” category on April 23 for COVID-19 infections, the library will be limited to 15 people inside the building at a time, not including staff members, and those people will be asked to limit their visits to no more than 15 minutes.
“Right now, we don’t have the study spaces we usually do, those are not available,” said Jeanne Peloquin, the library’s Communications and Outreach Coordinator. “We still have access to computers, we have access to holds and browsing, and a lot of those other services like Wi-Fi and printing documents.”
The other service that patrons will likely miss out on for the time being will be in-person programming such as book-readings and other special events.
“The only services I think of as a core thing that we’re not really doing right now are the study spaces where people come in and use them independently, and the in-person programming,” Peloquin said.
The library held a “soft” reopening from April 20 through 22, where they shook out the kinks and invited the public back in.
Local resident Abbe Schilperoort was one of those people. She and her two children, Lucy, 11, and Lydia, 4, as well as grandmother Kitty White, were all on hand April 22 and picked up no fewer than 30 books for checkout.
“We are really big library people so to have it be closed and have to figure out the holds and that system and navigating the pickups, we were doing that, so it’s nice to be able to walk in,” Schilperoort said as her daughters browsed through the shelves. “I have a 4-year-old and teenagers, so to be able to walk in and grab something off the shelf is really nice. We’re all so excited.”
While the library may be reopening to in-person visits, the online checkout and pick-up service will remain in place for the time being. Introduced in June 2020, this system has been used by nearly 29,000 people to reserve books and other materials, according to the Library’s annual report, presented at the April 19 City Council meeting. Those people reserved over 144,000 separate items and did so at an increasing pace as the pandemic has worn on. In addition, another new program has seen over 1,900 take-and-make craft kits distributed to people to make and enjoy at home.
“Thinking over the last year, I think the word we can all use to describe it is ‘unprecedented,’” Tigard Library Board Chair Katie Harris told the Council. “It’s challenged us in many ways and the library is no exception. Things are different now both for employees and patrons, but the library is incredibly vibrant throughout all of this.”
For now, the library will maintain limited hours for in-person service. The public will be allowed inside Monday through Thursday, from 2-6 p.m., and on Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Library take-out services will then be available from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on Monday through Thursday and 2-5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
Peloquin also noted that library’s popular virtual programming for children will continue as before.
For more information, visit tigard-or.gov/library.