10 N.L. libraries will begin curbside pickup starting Tuesday
Books will go through a 72-hour isolation period before recirculation
Select libraries in Newfoundland and Labrador will open to curbside pickup beginning Tuesday.
Newfoundland and Labrador Public Libraries tabled a reopening plan for the provincial government and public health to consider in late May, and issued an updated plan in mid-June.
"It's big news. We're all really excited to be back to work and to provide our services again," Leigha Chiasson-Locke, children's services and collections librarian with the NLPL, told CBC Radio's Newfoundland Morning.
The public can begin returning any books they have had since libraries began closing amid the pandemic through a participating library's drop-off slot — with no late fees. Once the books have been isolated for 72 hours, they will then be available for circulation once again.
"We're going to try to keep our books as safe as possible. We're going to make sure that when they're returned, they're put in isolation. We do have quarantine space at the branches that are offering curbside," said Chiasson-Locke.
"Each area will be able to keep track of which books are coming in and when, to make sure that the 72 hours applies to all of the books being returned."
There are 94 libraries across the province, but only 10 will be open to curbside pickup in the first phase.
The libraries opening include:
- Clarenville Public Library.
- Gander Public Library.
- Harmsworth Public Library in Grand Falls-Windsor.
- Botwood Kinsmen Public Library.
- Corner Brook Public Library.
- Deer Lake Public Library.
- Kindale Public Library in Stephenville.
- The A.C. Hunter Public Library; the Marjorie Mews Public Library; and the Michael Donovan Public Library in St. John's.
Staff members are required to wear personal protective equipment inside the library, despite the buildings still being closed to the public.
No timeline on reopening buildings
Chiasson-Locke said when libraries begin to allow members of the public to enter the building, things will look a little different.
"We will have those [glass] barriers on the circulation desks, and we will make sure there is appropriate social distancing for the patrons if they come in, and making sure the flow through the stacks adheres to those social distancing protocols," she said.
"So it might look a little but different when you come in, but the staff are so excited to be able to see people and to be able to offer the curbside."
There is no timeline for when people can begin to physically go inside libraries, but the NLPL is working on that with the provincial government, Chiasson-Locke said.
For those looking to check out books, they can place a hold on a title through the NLPL website, or by emailing or calling their participating library.
When the reserved books are ready, library staff will call and arrange a time for a drive-thru pickup.
With files from Newfoundland Morning