Giving Back

Yes, You May Now Return Your Library Books

Seattle Public Library is ready for you to load up the outdoor book drops, starting today. But you don't need to return anything until August 15, so be cool.

By Stefan Milne July 21, 2020

Ballard is one of nine branches where you can now return library books. 

Like a lot of people, when I heard Seattle Public Libraries were closing back in mid-March, I got after it: seven books, season three of Twin Peaks on DVD. Now, just over four months later, that pile of books exerts a quiet psychological toll: I’m done with them. They are not technically due—no books are due until August 15 (and the library canned overdue fines anyway). Yet because I’m a moderately contentious library user, with decades of moderately prompt returns behind me, they weigh on my conscience. Surely someone else wants to read Ruth Kassinger’s Slime: How Algae Created Us, Plague Us, and Just Might Save Us or watch 18 hours of David Lynch indulging his every somnolent caprice. I want to return them. I need to.

Now I can. Starting today, SPL is letting us return items three days a week (Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday) to twelve libraries. You can pour your quarantine entertainments in the book drops between noon and 6pm (or whenever the drop is full), after which they will be quarantined for 72 hours. 

SPL is still working out its curbside pickup program (planned for early August). You can check for updates on that here. The libraries will not otherwise be open. And, since there are some 400,000 items checked out, SPL begs for a bit of kindness, you overeager rule-abiding squares: “Please do not rush to return materials, especially if these branches are not your home branches.” 

Here are the libraries:

  • Ballard Branch, 5614 22nd Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107
  • Broadview Branch, 12755 Greenwood Ave N, Seattle, WA 98133
  • Douglass-Truth Branch, 2300 E Yesler Way, Seattle, WA 98122
  • Green Lake Branch, 7364 E. Green Lake Drive N, Seattle, WA 98115
  • High Point Branch, 3411 S.W. Raymond St, Seattle, WA 98126
  • Lake City Branch, 12501 28th Ave NE, Seattle, WA 98125
  • Northeast Branch, 6801 35th Ave NE, Seattle, WA 98115
  • Rainier Beach Branch, 9125 Rainier Ave S, Seattle, WA 98118
  • Southwest Branch, 9010 35th Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98126
  • Central Library, 1000 4th Ave, Seattle, WA 98104
  • Beacon Hill Branch, 2821 Beacon Ave S, Seattle, WA 98144
  • Columbia Branch, 4721 Rainier Ave S, Seattle, WA 98118

Updated on July 23 to add three more libraries. 

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