The Sage Connection

Read any good books lately?


Here’s a little fun history…

Did you know that, in December 1896, the Women’s Club of Olympia established a library service with “reading matter” donated by citizens? In March 1909, the city offered to take over the collection of some 900 volumes and maintain a public library. Olympia joined the Timberland library district in 1968.

Recently I had the pleasure of speaking with the new manager of Olympia's Timberland Library, Stephanie Hope-Cochran, about the changes the past year and a half have brought about to the Timberland Library System.

The closures of libraries before and during the COVID Pandemic have given library staff opportunities to put some great programs in place for all of us to enjoy.

The libraries are once again open -- with mask requirements and social distancing required. However, books, movies, music CDs and podcasts are still available for downloading to your computer or phone. You can still sign up for a library card online.

If you visit in person, you will find all aisles are now ADA compliant, having been widened during recent renovations. You will also find new greeting counters and new computers installed for public use.  Of course, copy/fax machines are still available for your use.

The libraries host dozens of events each month (find all public events in The JOLT's CALENDAR). 

ZOOM storytimes for the little ones can be enjoyed in English, Spanish and Sign Languages and can really come in handy for babysitting grandparents, as well as Mom and Dad. Online databases, job searches, games and book clubs are available through links on the Timberland Regional Library website.  It's easy to remember: T R L dot O R G. 

Online homework help for kids and teenagers, book sales and meetings of the Friends of the Library can also be reached via links on the website.

In-house services currently available include Self-Checkout, Self-service copy/scan/fax, 60 min computer access by reservation only, 15-minute walk up is available, along with limited browsing. Meeting rooms are not yet open for public use.

All fines have been permanently discontinued as long as books and items are returned.

What’s Ahead:

Mobile services are coming your way.

If all goes according to plan, in the coming year mobile library units will be coming to areas of underserved residents. Staff is currently working on of coming up with a name for this service.

New West Olympia Timberland Library to open June 1:

Olympia residents on the west side of the city will be happy to learn a new Timberland Library branch will open in the Capital Mall by the Sephora/Total Wine entrance. See related story

The Community Garden will be back at 313 8th Ave. SE!

On May 14, the Grub, Slow Food and Food Not Bombs groups will return to the Olympia Timberland Library, to remove old beds, redesign the new garden and replant. When the garden produces it will be open to the public.

Library hours are 11 am to 6 pm, Monday through Saturday. Hours for vulnerable patrons are 10 to 11 am. Return Hours are 24/7.

For more information you can call 360-352-0595 or log onto their website at

Thurston County Timberland Library locations:

  • Olympia -- 313 8th Ave. SE, Olympia
  • West Olympia  --  625 Black Lake Blvd. SW (Capital Mall) - starting June 1.
  • Lacey -- 500 College St.
  • Tenino --  172 Central Ave. W.
  • Tumwater -- 7023 New Market St.
  • Yelm -- 210 Prairie Park St.

The Nisqually Tribal Library, independent of the Timberland system, is located at 4820 She-Nah-Num Drive SE.

Kathleen Anderson writes this column each week from her home in Olympia.  Contact her at or post your comment below. 


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