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Sno-Isle Libraries offers a contact-free service during the COVID-19 pandemic

Books by Mail is intended as a temporary service for those who are unable to participate in contact-free services at a physical library location due to coronavirus precautions. It’s available to customers who live within the Sno-Isle Libraries District, including the city of Everett.
Image courtesy of Sno-Isle Libraries.

From a September 17, 2020, Sno-Isle Libraries press release.

"Books by Mail is available to any Sno-Isle Libraries customer who can’t or doesn’t want to go to a community library to pick up materials," said Sonia Gustafson, manager of Sno-Isle Libraries Library on Wheels program.

“It’s an additional contact-free service we’re offering during this unprecedented time. It’s great for those who check out only a few books at a time.” Gustafson added. 

Books by Mail is intended as a temporary service for those who are unable to participate in contact-free services at a physical library location due to coronavirus precautions. It’s available to customers who live within the Sno-Isle Libraries District, including the city of Everett. 

To join Books by Mail, customers will need to complete an online application form or call any community library to request the service. Customers who are approved for the service will receive an email confirmation within two to three business days and can begin placing holds for books and other physical materials at that time.  

“If customers need assistance placing holds, they can contact their community library,” Gustafson said.

She went on to say, “Just remind them to send holds to Library on Wheels.” 

While customers will select “Library on Wheels” as the pickup location, they won’t need to go past their mailbox to get their holds. The Books by Mail team at Library on Wheels will send items using U.S. Postal Service Media Mail.  

The number of items in each Books by Mail envelope is determined by size and weight of the items placed on hold. Up to five items will fit in an envelope. If all of a customer’s requested hold items will not fit in one envelope, the customer’s remaining holds will be sent after the first order is returned. 

“We are able to send most library materials through the mail, including books, DVDs and audiobooks,” Gustafson commented.

She went on to say, “However, we can’t send big coffee-table books, most cookbooks, atlases and other large or heavy items.” 

It can take up to two weeks for the Books by Mail envelope to arrive in the mail. This time frame is taken into account when due dates are set for the customer’s items. 

Customers can check the due dates on borrowed items by clicking the Log In/My Account button on sno-isle.org. All items are automatically renewed if no other customer is waiting to borrow the item. 

Each Books by Mail envelope sent to customers includes a postage-paid return mailing label and instructions on how to mail the items back to Sno-Isle Libraries. In general: 

  • Use the envelope provided to mail materials back to Sno-Isle Libraries and ensure it is labeled correctly. 
  • Double–check the receipt and return only the materials sent by Library on Wheels. The prepaid postage rate is determined by the weight of the customer’s hold items. Please do not use the envelope to return items that were not sent using Books by Mail. 
  • Seal the envelope and place in your mailbox or contact your local post office to discuss pick up options. 

“There are so many people who are being very, very careful with their health,” Gustafson explained.

She went on to say, “This is one of our services we want people to know about as another contact-free option. It’s for those folks who really miss being able to go to the library.”

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