Just when Seattle Public Library and King County Library System were beginning to plot a path toward safely resuming in-person library services, along came a spike in COVID cases and more restrictions on what we can do in Washington state.
If you haven’t already, it’s time to familiarize yourself with library curbside services.
The biggest book consumer (and tech user, let’s be honest) in my household is the 12-year-old, so here’s an assessment of KCLS services by Elizabeth Hanson (with a few notes from her parent, whose primary role is chauffeur in this case):
I think that the KCLS system is fine. I have no complaints. I downloaded the MyLibro app, and it just told me if my books were available and that I should pick them up. They have several scheduled times available that you can schedule, even for later that week. The actual pickup part is fine. At Des Moines Library they have a big table with brown paper bags of many shapes and sizes, marked for different people. There are usually one or two people further back at a desk. (They are library staff, and they are available to say “hi” or to help.)
I have clicked the “I’m here” and “I’ve picked up my books” options many times by accident before I actually had, but it was no big deal. They were still there. I also once accidentally canceled my pickup altogether, and it was still there on the table.
I also used the Bookmatch service on their website. It first asks for your name, email, library branch and a library card. Then it asks what kind of books, authors, or movies you like. Then what you like in a book, and finally, what you’re looking for in your next read. You just select an age group (kids, teens, adults) and what format you prefer (book, audiobook, e-book, etc). I have done this three times now, selecting the teens button (with parent OK). The first list was eight books, and I enjoyed almost all of them, and it came in about six days. The second time, I got a list of eight more books, one of which I was already reading at the time, and that one took around a week. The last one, I got six books that I am looking at right now. That took over a week. Overall, I like the system.
SPL has a similar service called Your Next 5 Books.
I’ve done a “surprise bag” at the library, too, where you pick a genre and a librarian picks out some books for you. I was interested in all of those books as well, and read three of the four.
Parent note on library curbside services: I think she could have been more enthusiastic. From what I could tell, the librarians put a lot of thought into the book picks, and a lot of them suited Elizabeth’s tastes perfectly and she devoured them. Curbside pickup has worked seamlessly, and I am very impressed.