FOOD LINE – A long line of cars on Lincoln Street, which at times stretched to the Harbor Drive intersection, wait to pick up free boxes of food on the SJ campus this morning. Sitka Conservation Society and Sysco Corporation administered the USDA Farmers to Families Food Box program today, handing out 12,000 pounds of fresh produce, precooked meats and other items. So many people turned out for the distribution that supplies ran out about an hour before the advertised end. Organizer Chandler O’Connell with SCS said that next week’s distribution will be at a different time and location in order to avoid traffic congestion. Information on time and location will be posted on the Sitka Mutual Aid Facebook page. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Library Users Back; Window Stays Open

Sentinel Staff Writer

Traffic has been “steady” in the first week since the Sitka Public Library reopened its doors for walk-in services, library officials say.

And so far the reopening plan is going well, Sitka Library Director Jessica Ieremia said. 

“People have been respectful,” she said. “People feel like there’s adequate space to stay socially distant while they’re browsing.”

Depending on the week and the season, the library is one of the busiest city buildings, with a regular stream of residents and visitors coming in to browse the shelves, attend programs, use the computers, check out books and spend some quiet time reading or doing research.

City buildings were closed to the public on March 15 when pandemic lockdowns were mandated. Most buildings reopened over time, with safety plans in place to protect workers and the public. The library is one of the last city buildings to reopen, on July 1, although staff members have continued providing many services through the building’s grab-and-go program, and pick-up window.

Ieremia said she’s enjoyed seeing small groups of patrons – including families with small children – back in the library, and she’s received feedback on how much the public appreciates being able to once again browse and use services.

But Ieremia said the ability to stay open will depend on the public.

Masks are requested (and available if people forget to bring them); there are one-hour time limits on cafe tables and computers; and patrons are asked to follow other COVID-19 precautions, such as staying away when sick.

“We’re asking patrons to limit their time inside,” Ieremia said. “And we have window service for people not ready to come inside public buildings. You’re able to check out books or talk to a librarian to figure out what you want.”

Library patron Tina Johnson, left, and Joanna Perensovich, information services librarian, wear masks in the Sitka Library this afternoon. The library no longer has couches for patrons, but does have computer desks widely spaced apart for people to access for one-hour periods. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday for walk-in service.

The building is closed to the public Sunday through Tuesday to allow for extensive cleaning and sanitizing but walk-up window service is available from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday; and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday and Tuesday.

Ieremia said she’s pleased with how the reopening plan has been going.

“It’s really worked out well,” she said. “If we get too many people, we’ll have to re-evaluate.”

She said staff members can only request masks not require them, and the vast majority of patrons have complied. Patrons are also asked to respect the request to stay at least six feet from staff, in compliance with Centers for Disease Control recommendations.

“This is to help us keep our doors open,” Ieremia said of the rules. “We don’t want to close our doors again.”

Those with questions may call 747-4020.


You have no rights to post comments

August 5, 2020

A Note To Our Readers

Reopening: Phase One:


On March 30 the Daily Sitka Sentinel began taking precautions against the coronavirus, which was starting to show up in Alaska.

We closed our building to the public and four key employees started working remotely. Home delivery was suspended to protect our carriers from exposure to the virus.

Four months later, the virus is still with us and the precautions remain in effect.

In appreciation for the willingness of our subscribers to pick up their daily paper at drop-off sites, the Sentinel was free to all readers, and subscriptions were extended without charge.

As of August 1 the Sentinel is once again charging for subscriptions, but the present method of having subscribers pick up their papers at designated sites will continue.

The expiration date of all subscriptions has been extended without charge for an additional four months.

We thank our readers for their support in these uncertain times, and especially those who paid for the paper despite the free offer.

We look forward to the time when we can safely resume home delivery.

To check on the expiration of your subscription or to make a payment please call 747-3219. The subscription email address is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . We also will be mailing out reminder cards.

The single copy price is again 75 cents. The news racks do not require coins to open, but we ask that the 75 cents for a non-subscription single copy sale be paid with coins in the slot.

– The Sitka Sentinel Staff


Login Form



Alaska COVID-19
At a Glance

(updated 10-27-20)

By Sentinel Staff

The state Department of Health and Social Services has posted the following update on the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Alaska as of 10:45 a.m. Tuesday.

New cases as of Monday: 378

Total statewide – 13,742

Total (cumulative) deaths – 70

Active cases in Sitka – 13 (10 resident; 3 non-resident) *

Recovered cases in Sitka – 62 (49 resident; 13 non-resident) *

The state says the cumulative number of cases hospitalized is 400.

To visit the Alaska DHSS Corona Response dashboard website click here.

* These numbers reflect State of Alaska data. Local cases may not immediately appear on DHSS site, or are reported on patient’s town of residence rather than Sitka’s statistics. 




October 2000

Photo caption: Alaska Native Sisterhood Camp 4 cookbook committee members Helena Wolff, Marta Ryman, Jean Frank and Margaret Gross-Hope stand behind a shipment of cookbooks, “Best Ever Recipes.” Proceeds from sales will go to the ANS and ANB scholarship funds.

October 1970

Alaska Day weather was cold – in the 30s and 40s – but spirits were high. ... At the Baranof Ball Mr. and Mrs. Pete Karras won first prize in Native costumes. Period costume winners  were Mr. and Mrs.  Bob Marlow, Suzie French and Mr. and Mrs. Kurt Korthals. Jim Johnson, Alaska Airlines, presented the trip prize to Mr. and Mrs. Lewie Rucka.