when will libraries reopen

Here's what libraries in Canada will look like when they reopen

When will libraries reopen in Canada? What will they look like? In this new normal, grabbing a copy of the latest James Patterson thriller from your local library branch is going to look different — so here's a preview of what to expect.

In Calgary, Alta., the public library is shifting to a curbside pickup service, starting today, June 9.

Library members can order books in advance. Once they receive a notification that their books are available for pickup, they're asked to drive to their local branch and call the number posted outside.

A member of staff will then bring the holds to the pickup table.

Like many other Canadian libraries, the Calgary Public Library is still not accepting book returns.

As part of phase three, the library will begin allowing in-location public access at an unspecified date, although large events and public gatherings will still be off the table.

The Regina Public Library (RPL) is similarly launching a curbside pick-up service on June 15 at select locations.

Library patrons are asked to follow the footprint stickers on the ground and keep at least two metres away from others.

RPL is also now accepting book returns at four locations, and the website says that the library gives the book a "quarantine period" of 72 hours before staff collect them. The bins are regularly sanitized.

The Toronto Public Library opened for curbside pickup at most branches on Monday, and it is accepting book returns at 70 branches across the city.

All library staff are equipped with personal protective equipment (PPE), and returned books will be quarantined for 72 hours before staff reshelf them.

The Ottawa Public Library is also open for curbside pickup and returns at six locations with safety measures such as masks in place.

The Winnipeg Public Library currently has three locations open for curbside pickup, while the Halifax Public Library offers curbside pick-up for items still on hold from March. The library says it will offer new holds at a later date.

The Montreal Public Library is still closed for the time being, and the library has yet to announce a reopening date.

The Vancouver Public Library (VPL) launched a "takeout model" at select locations in early June, although the system was so overwhelmed with orders that the library has been forced to temporarily halt the service.

VPL has also increased their collection of ebooks, digital audiobooks and more in order to give readers access to materials from home.

Most Canadian libraries have yet to outline the safety measures that will be put in place once the branches reopen for in-person access, but based on retail models, visitors can probably expect plexiglass barriers, floor stickers and hand sanitizer stations.

In the United States, public libraries have also cordoned off the bookshelves to restrict browsing.

It may be another few weeks (or even months) until libraries in Canada reopen for in-person access, but Canadians can look forward to using contactless curbside pickup to get all of their summer beach reads.

Lead photo by

Calgary Public Library


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