The sign on the window reads, “To pass the time more pleasantly, please take a free book.”

Advanced reader copies have filled two tables outside of Inklings Bookshop, on 56th and Summitview avenues, for the past several days, with children’s books and activities prevalent among them.

Store manager Emily Ring said she and owner Susan Richmond had the idea to give away the copies of the books to help make a positive difference in the community.

“We are doing all that we can to make the coming days more tolerable for everyone in our community,” Ring wrote in a Facebook post. “With the libraries closed, we know that there are people with nothing to read, who can’t necessarily afford to come into the store and purchase all the books they’d like.

“If you’re in that boat, please come grab a book or two. No strings attached.”

She’s had to restock the tables at least four times since that post, Ring said Thursday. The store usually sells the advanced reader copies to benefit Yakima schools, but switched that in light of the coronavirus shutdowns.

“We figured the need was most pressing right now to get books into people’s hands,” Ring said. “It’s really taken off beyond our expectations. It shows people are eager for something to do but also are wanting a sense of community.”

People have also started bringing their own books as donations, which the store appreciates during this time. Ring said all books are wiped down and disinfected before being offered to the public.

“Libraries are so essential, and with them being shut down, this makes reading less of a luxury and more of a human right,” she said.

Ring said Inklings plans to stay open as long as it can. The store is willing to carry pre-ordered purchases out to people’s cars and also has delivery options available for people who live within 15 miles of the bookstore. A $3 delivery fee applies to purchases under $50.

Ring said the store appreciates people’s donated books and overall support.

“The sense of community goodwill is really important to us,” she said. “We want to have a store to come back to when the dust settles. We plan on being here in whatever form for as long as we can.”

Other shout outs:

Yakima resident Brittney Clark wants to recognize staff at

  • McKinley Elementary. Clark said her daughters’ teachers and librarian have called to check in on them. The principal has been making videos to encourage kids to keep learning at home.

“And today, the music teacher gave us a call and sang a song with them on the phone,” Clark said. “It has really helped my kids feel connected to their school, even more than just going to get meals.”

Yakima resident Shannon Hullet gives a shout out to

  • West Valley’s Mountainview Elementary staff. Hullet said she has been beyond impressed with how prepared staff have been, with plans for children to bring home Chromebooks, work packets and library books.

“People there care so much about my kids,” she said.

Zillah resident Randy Wheeler gives a shout out to

  • Darren King, who just became a respiratory therapist at the beginning of March and has been working full-time for the community, now at Virginia Mason Memorial. “He has been training very hard,” Wheeler said.

Reach Lex Talamo at ltalamo@yakimaherald.com or on Twitter: @LexTalamo.