By MICHAEL WHITNEY
Published December 23, 2020
You can’t browse the local library shelves inside yet, but the library system is trying to serve the public’s interests in every other way possible.
Everett Public Libraries are doing curbside service so people can pick up books, as well as stocking up the system’s “e-libraries” so people can read books, magazines and national newspapers on a tablet or computer. There’s even a program where librarians can pull out a few books for you based on the interests you tell them since people can’t come in to look for themselves.
The pandemic magnified the “digital divide” for those without internet at home, library board president Bob Bertoldi said. The libraries strengthened their WiFi wireless internet signals to help.
Additionally, the library will add a program called Brainfuse that offers one-on-one student tutoring, resume reviews and job search assistance, Bertoldi said in an annual report to the City Council last week.
The library system plans to introduce Brainfuse in early 2021, city spokeswoman Kimberley Cline said. The company said it hopes to get everything set up to be ready as soon as this week.
The library lost 28 employees this year but plans to bring back some of the employee positions next spring.
City Council members praised library system director Abby Cooley and her team for brainstorming how to manage to keep the city’s library materials accessible to people. Libraries give the public “a portal to the world,” as one council member put it.
Everett’s libraries closed to visitors on March 13, but continue to offer services.
There is curbside service at both libraries, whether you have a car or not. Accountholders can make requests by logging in at www.epls.org or by calling the Main Library on Hoyt at 425-257-8000 or the Evergreen Branch at 425-257-8250.
While people can’t come in to scan the shelves, there’s a program where Everett Librarians can pick out a few books for you based on your interests. The program is called “Books For You.” See https://epls.org/bfy or call a library branch.
The library is offering new, free membership cards over the internet at www.epls.org/apps and continues to offer an “e-library” where cardholders can read newspapers and magazines, check out books and watch movies and TV shows from home.
Don’t have internet access? Comcast has set up free public WiFi hotspots, including for non-customers, to help during the pandemic. The hotspots will be available through June 2021.
To access a hotspot, check for WiFi connections on your device and look for “xfinitywifi” as the WiFi connection name. There are numerous WiFi hotspots across most of downtown, plus along most of the Broadway and Evergreen Way corridors.