Submitted by Timberland Regional Library
Mira Miguel, 9, and her sister Hannah Miguel, 12, submerged themselves in new books as they stood in the children’s section of the Hawks Prairie Timberland Library during a recent visit. This is their family’s first trip to the new Timberland Regional Library (TRL) location, which opened February 18, but they are no strangers to TRL.
Libraries are special places for the Miguel family, and Abigail Miguel, the girls’ mother, especially loves the format for the new location in Hawks Prairie. “I love the new, smaller libraries,” Abigail Miguel shares, referring to Hawks Prairie and the West Olympia Timberland Regional Library in Capital Mall. “I love going in and finding the newest books to read, and there still is seating and places to relax.”
Abigail Miguel says having the location in Hawks Prairie also makes visiting the library easier for her mother, who lives in the northeastern section of Lacey.
Hawks Prairie and West Olympia Timberland libraries are Lucky Day libraries, part of a three-year pilot project by TRL to expand access to libraries, Wi-Fi and technology, and to offer the most up-to-date materials for browsing.
Lucky Day libraries are one of the many projects that library staff and administration have put together to increase access and service for the community, says Timberland Regional Library Deputy Director Kendra Jones. “Our hard-working library staff look for all possible ways to meet the needs of every current and potential library user and increase their access to services,” Jones says. “It has been especially challenging during the pandemic, but because of the dedication of our staff, we have continued to expand both access and resources.”
Because of the work and commitment of the staff, Timberland Regional Library asks patrons to show their support on April 6, Library Giving Day, and as a part of National Library Week, April 3-9.
Library Giving Day is an opportunity for people to give back to the local library that serves their community by offering accessible and life-changing resources, programs and materials, Jones shares.
Abigail Miguel, who has been visiting TRL locations since her move to Lacey in 2008, says her family has used many of the resources and services TRL provides. The Miguel family has visited a variety of locations, even traveling to other counties for story times and special teen events for Hannah and Mira. TRL services Grays Harbor, Lewis, Mason, Pacific and Thurston counties.
“I love the pickup window in Chehalis,” Abigail Miguel says. “When I worked in the area, I would go by on my lunch break to pick up my books. We also like going to the libraries because the girls love going through the shelving and browsing. They like being able to try new things; they never leave the library with less than five books apiece.”
Abigail Miguel adds that the family uses many of the online resources, as well. The entire family has used the Libby app, which grants access to digital and audio books, especially during the pandemic, and her husband listens to audio books on his work commute.
“The day TRL closed for the pandemic two years ago, we were in the Lacey library about an hour before they shut down,” Abigail Miguel says. “We carried out as much as we could hold, about 100 books—fiction, nonfiction, cookbooks, activities. We had an entire bookshelf in our hallway dedicated to our TRL library books. This, along with the online resources, helped get us through the pandemic.”
TRL’s focus and a major part of the organization’s strategic plan during the pandemic has centered on offering library access to underserved communities and bolstering services overall, Jones shares. This will continue for at least the next few years, she said, and community support is an integral part of that plan.
“For the communities we serve, there is tremendous value in supporting local libraries and library staff,” Jones says. “We care deeply about the people who use and rely on our libraries. Wherever people access TRL, we want them to feel comfortable and welcome.”
TRL’s most recent efforts to expand library access and services include:
- Opening two new branches – Hawks Prairie in Lacey and West Olympia in Capital Mall.
- Remodeling 15 locations in 2021, with lowered shelving, wider aisles and updated furniture to make them more accessible and user-friendly, with more to come in 2022.
- Updating library hours in 2022.
- Introducing new materials such as Playaway, Launchpads and Vox Books.
- Increasing the free monthly print balance.
- Expanding accessible resources and services such as Kanopy, PressReader and
“TRL is such a great resource for people of all ages to be able to get information, access services, and find materials and programs that they will like,” Abigail says. “It’s not just about the books that are there, it’s about the community that is there, and finding helpful resources, and discovering new things. I think there is something there for everyone.”
Since the start of Library Giving Day in 2019, more than 400 library organizations across the United States and Canada have taken part in the annual event.
Click here to donate directly to TRL. Donations via check can be written out to “Timberland Regional Library” with “Library Giving Day” in the memo line and sent to TRL Headquarters:
Attn: Finance Office
415 Tumwater Blvd. S.W.
Tumwater, WA 98501
A contribution to Timberland Regional Library is tax-deductible when applied solely for “public purposes” and falls under IRS Code, 26 U.S.C. §170(c)(1).