Road to Reopening
Status of Library services at a glance: Bookmark this page for the latest information. Updated Feb. 17, 2021.
Library Programs & Services Available Now
While public access to our buildings is restricted to help slow the spread of COVID-19, you can still use the Library. Pick up your holds with our contactless curbside service at select branches, print up to 10 black and white pages per day to pick up at curbside, or use our free online resources.
Borrow Library Materials
The Library is providing safe access to books, DVDs and other materials for patrons, and all circulating materials are quarantined for 72 hours after they are returned. You can place holds on items in our catalog to pick up through our curbside service at select branches. Stop by curbside service branches to browse Peak Picks or take home Grab & Go books in your favorite genre.
Use Digital Resources
We have expanded our digital collections to give you access to more e-books and other online resources while access to buildings is restricted. Read e-books, take online classes, use research databases or read current or historical newspaper articles online.
Attend Virtual Events
Join us online for fun story times for kids, creative activities for older adults or virtual author talks. Many of our events are recorded and posted to our YouTube channels.
Get a New Library Card
You can sign up for a new Library card online and get instant access to e-books and other online resources. In order to get instant access, you will need a mobile phone and a verified address in Seattle.
Find COVID-19 Resources
Explore resources gathered by our staff to support communities most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis. We are continuing to update this page as needs and resources emerge.
Common questions about our COVID-19 closure
Safe Start WA: How do statewide plans impact Library services?
On Jan. 11, 2021, Governor Jay Inslee implemented the “Healthy Washington – Roadmap to Recovery” plan. The plan segments Washington state into regions that will be assessed for reopening plans based on four health metrics that will determine when the region can move into the next phase of reopening.
King, Pierce and Snohomish counties comprise the Puget Sound Region, which like other state regions, is currently in Phase 1 of the reopening plan.
While the Puget Sound Region remains in Phase 1, the Library will continue to provide contactless curbside, printing, virtual and mobile services. We are preparing for limited in-building services at select branches when the Puget Sound Region moves to Phase 2, though a timeline for introducing in-building services is not yet established. We will continue to update you as changes occur to Library services.
How do I return my books?
The Library is now accepting returns at 18 Library locations daily. 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
- Greenwood Branch
- High Point Branch
- Lake City Branch
- Magnolia Branch
- Northeast Branch
- Northgate Branch
- Queen Anne Branch
- Rainier Beach Branch
- South Park Branch
- Southwest Branch
- West Seattle Branch
When are my books due?
Check your account to see the due dates of your materials. We also notify patrons by email when materials are coming due.
We encourage patrons to return materials by their due dates so other patrons can enjoy them. You can also help by checking your account for holds you have placed on physical items and deleting those that you no longer need.
Lending periods are the same now as they were prior to our building closures: three weeks for most materials and two weeks for DVDs and Peak Picks titles.
To ensure the safety of patrons and staff, all returned items will be quarantined – and will remain on your account – for a minimum of 3 days before being checked in.
What's available online?
To help meet community interest, we have invested in more e-materials throughout our closure. You can explore our vast collection 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. Please do not leave books or other materials you wish to donate at Library sites.
Can I volunteer for the Library during the COVID-19 pandemic?
We are unable to place Library volunteers at this time. You are welcome to contact email@example.com if you have questions. The following community websites provide information about volunteer opportunities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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 our calendar for a full list.
You can also see a list of our digital services.
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, you can 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 (including placing holds on physical materials) 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 about our Library Link program.
I have a Library card, but can’t figure out how to sign into my account online.
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 reopenings 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?
Can I suggest titles for new materials you don’t have in your catalog?
Currently, we are only accepting title suggestions for e-books and e-audiobooks. We are still working through a backlog for the ordering and processing of new materials, so we do not yet have the capacity to take on additional title suggestions at this time.
What is happening in Library buildings while they are closed?
Library staff are conducting the following in-building work while Library buildings remain closed to the public:
- maintaining the systems and security of our Library buildings;
- providing safe public restroom access at three locations;
- processing and shelving returned materials;
- cleaning and disinfecting buildings;
- setting up health and safety protocols for staff;
- and providing limited curbside pickup service for physical materials and other curbside services such as remote printing.
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?
The Library’s Mobile Services, including Bookmobile and Books by Mail, are available. The Books by Mail service is signing up new patrons who are unable to visit their neighborhood branch due to age or disability.