An open letter from head of the library system

This is an open letter from Cheryl Heywood, Executive Director of the Timberland Regional Library and the administrative team to the library system’s staff, patrons, and communities.

April 10, 2020

In an effort to ensure the health and well-being of our communities, staff, and library patrons, Timberland Regional Library (TRL) is following the mandated stay at home order issued by Governor Inslee to help slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

TRL serves the communities of Grays Harbor, Lewis, Mason, Pacific, and Thurston counties. We move millions of items across these counties and serve thousands of patrons each year. As you can imagine, this means lots of touching and in-person contact. In order to limit these types of interactions, we are keeping our libraries closed until it is safe for our staff and patrons to return to our buildings.

In order to continue to provide services to you, our staff have been working virtually over the past few weeks and have created numerous virtual services to continue serving our communities the best we can. Yes, our physical buildings are closed, however there are many wonderful online resources you can access 24 hours a day at TRL.org. Our staff are teleworking and presenting virtual programs such as storytimes, issuing new e-library cards, answering questions with live chat, and helping our communities continue to enjoy our online library services- ebooks, audiobooks, movies, and more.

Timberland Regional Library realizes the importance our staff have in our communities and know they play a huge part in our service to you. TRL is also working on our re-opening plan and changes that we will make to keep staff and patrons safe.

TRLs Administration Team and Board of Trustees know our staff is important to our communities, and we are dedicated to keeping them safe during this uncertain and stressful time.

Our Union Leadership has stated that, “AFSCME Local 3758 worked collaboratively with TRL Admin to find a safe and beneficial way for some staff to continue to work from home while ensuring that we were following local, state, and federal guidelines and orders on how to help flatten the curve of COVID-19. We are thankful TRL Administration prioritized staff and community safety during this difficult time. We look forward to returning to work when it is safe and reconnecting with our patrons and coworkers.”- Morgan Sohl, Local 3758 Supervisors Unit President

To our staff, thank you for being creative and dedicated during this time. You are valued and appreciated.

To our communities, we can’t thank you enough for your patience and support. We want to assure everyone that TRL is working during this time to deep clean our buildings, to create new social distancing measures, and continue to work on new ways to serve you virtually or with less contact until it is safe to do so. We cherish the relationships built over the years and look forward to seeing all of our valued patrons and staff back at their libraries very soon. We miss you!

We ask our communities and patrons to continue to support our libraries, your communities, and our staff who are anxious to serve you in any way that they can during these uncertain times.

We look forward to seeing you soon.

From Cheryl Heywood,

Executive Director, and the administrative team