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Free facemasks for the public and additional grants to prepare for reopening

Free Facemasks

Whitman County residents can pick a free mask curbside from any library branch location. Library staffer Catalina Flores recently picked up the masks from Council on Aging who assisted in the distribution.

Area residents can obtain a free, reusable facemask curbside from any branch of Whitman County Library District. The masks provided by Washington State Emergency Management are adult sized and intended for lower income residents or those who’ve struggled to locate a mask elsewhere. Call your local branch or the Colfax Branch at 397-4366 to arrange curbside pickup of sized cloth masks, limited to the number of adult sizes in your family.

Besides this donation of masks, the library has received a number of grants and donations to better assist the community and also, in preparation for when the library is allowed to reopen. Opening in Phase 3 is still pending the release of Safe Start Guidelines from Governor Inslee’s office.

Additional COVID related funding has come from The Innovia Foundation, giving $10,000 for the library and its partner agencies to address the most pressing needs that arise in the community as a result of the pandemic. The Library, Council on Aging, Whitman Hospital, Palouse River Counseling and others are working to develop programs and support.

The Innovia Foundation also funded $3400 in personal protection equipment (PPE) to assist the library in fully protecting the community and staff from the virus. Additional sanitation equipment was awarded through Cares Act funding made available through the Institute of Museums and Libraries as administered by the Washington State Library.

Judy Gary Libey and his wife Trudy funded the purchase of 13 video monitors allowing library staff countywide to hold meetings and trainings via Zoom. Once libraries are allowed to reopen, these monitors will be available for public use as well.

The Library has purchased Kanopy thanks to the support of an anonymous donor. This video streaming service is free from the library's website at and provides thousands of thoughtful films and documentaries along with Kid’s Kanopy to challenge young minds.

The United Way of Whitman County granted $400 toward COVID related needs while Palouse/Inland NW Open Source donated 100 masks. A number of local citizens have also provided hand sewn masks and individual donations are helping to offset the cost of mailing books directly to people's homes.

Schweitzer Engineering funded STEM packets for youth countywide and the McGregor Company donated of face shields for all staff.

Whitman County Library continues to serve the public through online, curbside, phone and mailing services. Please contact your local branch or visit for more assistance.

Kristie Kirkpatrick, Director, Whitman County Library, 509-397-4366