Washington Public Library

Telescope checkout times, a grant for free internet hotspots and a Christmas bonus for staff members were among the items on the agenda at the November Library Board meeting Monday at 6 p.m.

Library Director Nelson Appell led the meeting, which three board members joined in-person while eight more Zoomed in, their faces appearing on the Scenic Regional Library meeting room’s projection screen. 

Appell announced that a grant from E-Rate, a program run through the Federal Communications Commission to assist schools and libraries with providing telecommunication services, is expected to cover 60 percent of the cost of the library’s 32 hotspots. He said more hotspots are needed now that more parents have children doing virtual learning.

The board also reported its October 2020 circulation numbers, which were only 1,000 units below the numbers for October 2019: 9,492 compared to 10,434. The young adult books category actually topped the 2019 number, growing from 243 books checked out in October 2019 to 342 last month. The library system added 62 patrons, about on par for this time of the year, according to Appell.

Library officials also reported a “successful” Halloween event, in which it gave away 350 T-shirts it purchased for its summer reading program, and reported strong interest in its take-away crafts program. 

Under new business, Appell led discussion of continued problems with the building’s HVAC system. Library leadership, along with parks and recreation department officials have discussed what potential long-term solutions could be, but no decisions have been made.