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Western Libraries Updated Information for Summer 2020

Posted on: June 8, 2020

Topic(s): Updates

Western Libraries Updated Information for Summer 2020

--Last updated 6/26/2020

Western Libraries continues to follow guidance from Governor Inslee and the State of Washington in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. During Phase 2 of the Governor’s “Safe Start” plan, libraries must remain closed to the public, but are allowed to provide limited access to materials when certain procedural and safety requirements are met. 

The Governor recently issued new Phase 2 guidance specifically for libraries, and that information is being reviewed and assessed to ensure Western Libraries can comply with the necessary requirements while prioritizing the health and safety of all library staff, and the health and safety of all who use the library. Western Libraries is also actively working with the university to acquire the necessary PPE and develop the safety procedures required in order to provide expanded access to library materials. 

There are significant complexities in developing a plan for curbside pickup. Unfortunately, even though we wish things were easier, we cannot simply open the door and lend materials. There are regulations at both the State and local level that need to be followed, including the Phase 2 Curbside Library Services COVID-19 Requirements established by the state. We are using those requirements as a starting point, and we also need to work within Western’s required Safe Start department plan, which was not released until June 15. While we began exploring how we could safely provide curbside access before this, we couldn't begin any real planning until after this point. 

Once we submit our plan to the university, there are an additional five areas of Western that need to review and approve the plan, (Human Resources,  Environmental Health and Safety, Space Administration, Facilities Management, and the COVID-19 Planning unit). Once the plan is approved, then we still need to ensure we have the support, the supplies, and the resources to implement the plan. As we continue our planning efforts, Western Libraries physical building will remain closed to the public through the summer quarter and likely into the intersession preceding fall quarter.

We have extended the due date for all materials currently checked out to September 23. If you have materials you would like to return now, you can return them to the outside drop box under the skybridge near the Haggard Hall entrance to the Libraries. Please note that in order to ensure the safety of our staff, these materials will not be checked in until staff are approved to begin limited work in the buildings. If you have questions about a specific loan, contact the Circulation Desk at

If you have equipment or items from the STC, ATUS, or the Haggard 114 loan desk, please contact Classroom Services at 360-650-3300 or  with questions about due dates. Please do not return any equipment items in the book drop.

At this time, it is too early to know precisely what fall quarter will look like in terms of giving the public (or non-library personnel) access to library buildings and spaces. We understand the frustrations this uncertainty may cause for those whose plans may be dependent on having access to the library buildings in the near future. Please know we want to help, and that we share those same frustrations and anxieties. If you need access to specific resources or materials at this time, or if you have already identified resources you may need in the fall, please reach out to us. While we may not be able to offer you physical access, we will do everything possible to find alternative methods to meet your needs.

We want to support you and help find solutions to your needs, even if we are not able to do that in person at this time. For example, for faculty members wondering about materials, services, and resources you need to support courses you are planning, please reach out to your Subject Team(s). They are eager to help, and can explore and identify options to help meet your needs, whether courses are in person or online.  

Library personnel look forward to expanding services when it is safe to do so, and once protocols to ensure reasonable and safe processes for managing access to physical items are in place. We will share new information about our services as soon we possibly can, via our website, direct email communications, Western Today announcements, and via the University’s Coronavirus FAQ site.   

Until that time, library staff and faculty will continue to collaborate actively with you to provide online resources and services.  Please see the complete directory of library personnel for more detailed contact information, and do not hesitate to contact us with your questions or concerns. If you have general questions or are not sure who to contact, please email