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Submitted by Timberland Regional Library

As part of a four-year goal to create appealing spaces and engaging experiences for children and adults, Timberland Regional Library (TRL) improved and updated 20 buildings and opened two new locations since January of 2020.

Timberland Regional Library
Timberland Regional Library Executive Director Cheryl Heywood (left) and Lacey Timberland Library Manager Holly Paxson chat in the children’s section of the recently remodeled Lacey branch. Photo courtesy: Timberland Regional Library

With the support from the Timberland Regional Library Board of Trustees and the dedicated work of operations staff, 19 libraries and the administrative service center received significant upgrades and improvements, including more accessible shelving; comfortable furniture; updated and accessible restrooms; new flooring; and modern service stations.

“Our continuing goal is to anticipate community needs with remodels and refreshes that modernize our library buildings,” said Timberland Regional Library Executive Director Cheryl Heywood. “We strive to use sustainable materials, increase usable, open spaces for library patrons, expand accessibility, so every patron feels comfortable and accommodated, as well as create spaces that are easy to clean and maintain.”

While libraries throughout the TRL district, which spans 7,000 square miles across 5 counties, received improvements, one of the largest projects for 2021 and 2022 was the Shelton Timberland Library refresh.

Improvements to the Shelton Timberland Library included:

Timberland Regional Library
Timberland Regional Library Executive Director Cheryl Heywood (right) addresses a crowd at the grand re-opening of the Shelton Timberland Library on June 10, 2022, held by the Shelton-Mason County Chamber of Commerce. Photo courtesy: Timberland Regional Library
  • A complete restroom overhaul in 2021.
  • Installation of new luxury flooring.
  • Received new interior paint throughout, including all woodwork, columns, widow casing, doors and metal.
  • Installed recessed LED lighting with dimmers.
  • Removed old lattice overhang and shelving and repaired the area with new drywall.
  • Built additional storage in the staff work area.
  • Modern and more accessible shelving was installed.
  • Installed updated furniture, including a modern circulation desk and office furniture, and varied options for patron comfort.
  • Replaced damaged and dated wainscotting and window casings with new throughout the entire space.
  • Replaced dated and damaged window blinds upstairs and in the staff work room.
  • Upgraded the water fountain with a bottle filler.

    Timberland Regional Library
    A young patron searches for just the right book at the Hawks Prairie Timberland Library, which had its grand opening in February 2022. Photo courtesy: Timberland Regional Library

Other TRL libraries that received a recent refresh include Amanda Park, Elma, Montesano, and Westport in Grays Harbor County; Centralia, Mountain View (Randle), Packwood, Salkum and Winlock in Lewis County; Hoodsport and North Mason (Belfair) in Mason County; Ocean Park, Naselle and Raymond in Pacific County; and Lacey, Olympia and Tenino in Thurston County.

Several of the libraries had multiple improvement projects over the three-year period. More information about location upgrades, including the 12 libraries improved in 2020-2021, can be found on the Timberland Regional Library website.

It was because of the board’s support, as well as support from the staff and the community that TRL was able to complete these building projects, Heywood said.

“We have to give all of our thanks to our wonderful board, our city partners, our highly talented operations staff and our awesome library staff for the completion of these projects,” Heywood said. “Without their support, we would not have been able to make these improvements.”

In addition to the library improvements, TRL opened two new demonstration “Lucky Day” libraries, giving the library district a total of 29 locations. The new locations are the West Olympia Timberland Library in Capital Mall, which opened in July 2021, and the Hawks Prairie Timberland Library in east Lacey, which had its grand opening on February 18, 2022.

Timberland Regional Library
McCleary Timberland Library patron Steve W. tries out his new key fob for expanded access hours (EAH). Photo courtesy: Timberland Regional Library

During the pandemic closures in 2020-2021, 13 branches also had new takeout windows installed so that library staff could continue to serve their communities, and five locations now offer expanded access hours (EAH), including Hoodsport, McCleary (currently unavailable), Naselle, Ocean Park and Packwood libraries.

TRL has plans to continue library upgrades through the next several years, Heywood said. McCleary Timberland Library is undergoing a major refresh that will be completed in early 2023, and the plans for a new Mountain View Timberland Library to be built in Randle are in the beginning stages, she said.

“We encourage our patrons to experience them all, as each is unique to its community, and all offer our expansive services, collections and resources,” Heywood said.

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