Washington Public Library preparing for phase two of reopening

Open to public Tuesdays and Thursdays by appointment only; curbside service to continue

The Washington Public Library will be open to the public beginning June 2 by appointment only. Books will continue to be available via curbside pick up only. (Gretchen Teske, The Union)
The Washington Public Library will be open to the public beginning June 2 by appointment only. Books will continue to be available via curbside pick up only. (Gretchen Teske, The Union)

WASHINGTON — The Washington Public Library is entering its second phase and will be open to the public for select appointments beginning June 2.

According to a statement released by the library, patrons may call the library on Tuesdays or Thursdays to schedule an appointment to use a computer, fax machine or copier for 45 minutes. Patrons will be asked to come promptly at the designated time and will bet let in by a staff member. Failure to arrive within 15 minutes of the scheduled time will result in a canceled appointment.

“We ask that you adhere to the signs in the library. Our public restrooms will continue to be closed. We have restrictions per state guidelines on the number of people allowed in the designated square footage of the computer area. Therefore, we will have five computers available four times a day on Tuesdays and Thursdays,” the release states.

No direct reference service to patrons will be available as curbside service has been deemed the safest way to access books, it says.

Curbside service has been going well in the Washington, Ainsworth and Brighton communities and will continue to be in effect during the pandemic. Many new books including children’s books are available for pick up, according to the release.

Two books per library card and two DVD’s per family will be available at each visit. Those interested in this service may call the library at 319-653-2726 to place an order or email Books can be chosen by visiting the Washington Public Library catalog online at or by calling the library, it states.

If leaving a message, staff will respond within 24 hours during the workweek, the release states. After an order is placed an appointment time and date will bet set for pickup on either a Monday, Wednesday or Friday. Due to the contactless curbside appointments, books will be outside on a cart for 15 minutes at the time of the appointment. If they are not picked up within 15 minutes they will be taken inside to quarantine for seven days.

“We are taking every measure possible to ensure safety to patrons with this process. Currently, we are not doing holds for books. Whatever we have in stock will be what is available to check out. There will not be renewals of books after the two week checkout period,” the release states.

The inside of the library will only be open for select usage, the statement says.

“Genealogy and the third floor (including meeting rooms) will not be available during this phase. The stacks also will be roped off from browsing and touching books on the shelves,” the release states. “A public library is a place people of all ages congregate to browse books, socialize, study, read newspapers, watch concerts and have meetings. Libraries exist to provide free and equitable access to cultural and educational services when that is a safe option. Currently it is not safe to congregate in this way. Our goal is to continue to do our part in keeping the community safe by providing programming through our Facebook Page, zoom room, curbside service and integrating computer appointments.”

The doors to the library will continue to be locked and the Wi-Fi will be open outside onto the sidewalk and street in front of the library 24 Horus a day for free access to the public, the statement says.

“We will be steadfast in opening additional services when we deem we are ready based on weekly input I receive from the City of Washington, State Library of Iowa, Iowa Dept. of Public Health, and Emergency Management. We appreciate the guidance of these local and state agencies in guiding our Reopening Plan with their detailed analytics. We look forward to the day we can unlock the doors of the library and have business as usual,” Library Director Bryna Walker said in the statement.