The days of extended hold times are over. Starting Monday, May 23, the Seattle Public Library is returning to pre-pandemic borrowing policies.

The maximum time books, CDs, DVDs and other physical items can be placed on hold will be reduced from 14 to seven days. Accounts will also be suspended for overdue items after 14 days instead of 31 days. Suspended accounts will be reactivated once items are returned.

The Northgate, University, Lake City and Northeast branches also expanded open hours as of Wednesday.

“With all Seattle libraries reopened — most at pre-pandemic hours — and Library meeting rooms and study rooms once again available for public use, we are very encouraged to have reached this phase of our reopening efforts,” said SPL Executive Director Tom Fay in a news release.

In January 2020, Seattle libraries eliminated daily fines for overdue items in an effort to make the library more equitable and to reduce barriers.

Scheduled library closures do not count against the seven-day hold limit. The library will continue automatically renewing items up to three times if another person is not waiting for the item.


Most library meeting rooms and study rooms are again available to the public, though some rooms may be unavailable to accommodate staff use, according to the library. More of these spaces will be made available to the public as the library is able, the news release said.

While masks are no longer required, visitors are “strongly encouraged” to wear them and library staff will continue to wear masks to “protect our most vulnerable patrons and staff,” SPL said.

A complete list of the open hours can be found here: