Washingtonians love their books. Of course, it helps having perfect weather conditions year-round for curling up and escaping into a good story. But there’s also a great sense of pride for the general love for knowledge and creative expression that permeates our communities. So, when the world went into lockdown to combat the spread of the COVID-19, it’s no surprise that cutting access to in-person library spaces sent bibliophiles across the state into disarray.
But the shock was short-lived. King County Library Systems (KCLS) acted fast to reconnect people with their beloved books by leveraging OverDrive—the digital platform that gives residents access to ebooks and audiobooks without ever having to leave their homes. Libraries also began supporting curbside pickups as well as launching online virtual programs to continue serving the community.
The latest initiative undertaken by King County Library Systems involves the rollout of electronic lockers at a variety of locations—including right here in Tukwila. “The lockers provide an easy and convenient way for patrons to pick up materials,” stated KCLS Executive Director Lisa Rosenblum. The lockers, which provide 24/7 access for all patrons, were funded by the KCLS Foundation and from a portion of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). We recently caught up with the staff over at the Tukwila branch to see how the program has been going since its debut back in February.
How have the electronic lockers been received by the community?
The Tukwila Library lockers received a warm welcome from the community at the grand opening on February 11. Governor Jay and First Lady Trudi Inslee also recently came to the Tukwila Library to visit one of our pop-up vaccine clinics and the library lockers.
Since the Tukwila lockers have only been open a little over two months, we don’t have adequate feedback to share from patrons at this time. However, we know that the first set of lockers we installed at the Bothell and Covington Libraries in October 2020 have been popular additions to the community. Patrons enjoy the ability to pick up library materials any time with 24/7 access.
How do you think electronic lockers will contribute to overall readership/library attendance?
The electronic lockers increase access to library materials; they offer an easy and convenient way to pick up items any time of the day. Any opportunity to provide residents’ greater access to information and library materials is an opportunity to increase readership, knowledge, and quality of life.
Anything else you’d like folks to know about the Tukwila Library?
The Tukwila Library is a beautiful space that is well used and beloved by the community. We hope to see you soon, either outside at the new lockers, inside, or online!
Learn more about the electronic lockers and how you can use them here.