March 1 update: FVRL’s COVID-19 Response and Frequently Asked Questions

A letter from our director

We are beginning to offer quick visits at seven of our library locations. Services are limited to picking up holds and print jobs, asking brief account questions and checking out Chromebook computers. Check your library’s schedule under Locations and Hours. The intent of starting with short library visits is for staff to practice the new skills required to manage the many new COVID protocols required for in-person services. Patrons are encouraged to continue using curbside pick up to access these same services.

To continue to keep our doors open, we believe wearing masks and social distancing is the best way to keep staff and patrons safe. We want to be able to offer our patrons more, but as a community gathering space, we must take great precautions moving forward. We will require all persons over the age of 5 entering any Fort Vancouver Regional Library District facility to wear a face covering at all times.

The mask requirement is based on Governor Jay Inslee’s proclamations and recommendations from the Washington State Departments of Health and Labor and Industry, as well as the Clark, Cowlitz, Klickitat, and Skamania County Health Departments, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There will be no exceptions to this rule. Those who cannot wear a mask for medical reasons can continue to access the library through curbside service or receive books by mail.

Our mission is to strengthen our communities through knowledge, experience, and creativity, and our priority is to do this safely and sustainably. Additionally, our 24/7 digital library gives anyone with a library card access to thousands of ebooks, e-audiobooks, music, movies, and much more.

We strive to be as transparent as possible and will continue to support all library users. Thank you for your cooperation. Should you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to us at ask.fvrl.org or call us at 360-906-5000.

-Amelia Shelley, Executive Director

March 1, 2021

Questions about FVRL’s coronavirus response

Why aren't our libraries open to the public? When can I expect the library will open?

On January 29, the State of Washington updated their guidelines for libraries to provide services under both Phase 1 and 2 of the Healthy Washington Plan. We are excited that this new guidance includes the potential for a return to in-person library service under strict safety provisions, and have started the process of opening several of our branches for limited in-person services. We hope to be able to safely reopen most of our libraries to the public soon, as well as continue to follow the Governor’s guidance to “facilitate services through the mail or via curbside pick-up where possible to limit interaction between staff and patrons within enclosed spaces.” Once open, library access will likely be limited to short visits. The health and safety of our staff and patrons is our top priority as we assess these new rules.

What is the library doing to maintain safety?

We've created safety procedures to ensure that we're keeping you, our staff, and our facilities and materials safe.

Why can't I use a computer?

We recognize that access to the internet is a critical library service, and are making plans for limited computer use in our next step forward in re-opening.

For those with their own device, the internet is accessible through our public Wi-Fi in most of our libraries’ parking lots. We also have a limited supply of Wi-Fi hotspots available to check out. We have expanded this program to include checking out of Chromebooks as well.

Is there a risk that library materials carry the virus?

FVRL is quarantining all library materials for a minimum of 24 hours prior to release. Books that are visibly dirty will receive additional surface cleaning. All staff handling returned materials are following strict protocols for personal hygiene and protective equipment to avoid the spread of germs and keep us all safe.

What digital resources are available while the library is closed?

See What to do while you're staying at home, or take a look at the large number of online resources available under "Books, Music, Movies & More" and "Research & Learn Online." We are working on increasing access to eBooks and other content during our closure.

I’m in quarantine or isolation. Will I be billed for the materials if I don't return them now?

If you can’t return them right now, it’s okay. FVRL doesn't charge overdue fees, and even if your items are billed as "lost," the bill will be canceled when the items are returned in good shape.

Is your Wi-Fi available?

Yes, Wi-Fi is available 24/7 at all FVRL locations (try the parking lot or other locations around the buildings). We also have a limited supply of Wi-Fi hotspots available to check out. For a full list of local Wi-Fi locations, see the Washington Wi-Fi map.

Can I get help with a question or using my e-device?

Yes, our library staff are available to assist you with questions about library resources or to help you access our downloadable content.

Is the Library Board still meeting? Can I submit comments to the Board?

Yes, public meetings are still under the Governor’s order 20-05 and 20-28 to be held remotely. Information about Library Trustee meetings is available on the Board of Trustees page. Here's how to submit comments for the virtual Board Meeting:

Regular agenda items: Comments related to items on the regular agenda must be submitted prior to 1 pm on the day of the meeting in one of these ways: by email to trustees@fvrl.org, by calling 360-906-5011 and leaving a message, or by mail to 11818 SE East Mill Plain Blvd Suite 415, Vancouver WA 98684. Comments on items on the regular agenda will be provided to the Board of Trustees prior to the meeting for their review. Names of commenters and topics addressed will be entered into the formal minutes of the meeting.

Public Hearings: Citizens wishing to comment on the subject of a public hearing must submit their name and phone number prior to 1 pm the day of the meeting by emailing trustees@fvrl.org or by calling 360-906-5011 with a request to participate in the public hearing. During a public hearing, the Board Chair will call on the speaker and the moderator will unmute the participant. Comments will be limited to three minutes.

General comments on items not on the agenda will be forwarded to the Board for their review. See FVRL’s Guidelines for Public Comment Periods for more information.