PEI

P.E.I.'s libraries activate hundreds of new memberships as online services expand during COVID-19

P.E.I.'s Public Library Service is continuing to find new ways to connect Islanders with resources for both education and entertainment during COVID-19 — and it's paying off.

'Our online electronic resources ... that has grown to a number that I never thought I would see'

Youth services librarian Roseanne Gauthier says P.E.I.'s Public Library Service's online offerings reflect what is physically on P.E.I.'s library shelves. (Sam Juric/CBC)

P.E.I.'s Public Library Service is continuing to find new ways to connect Islanders with resources for both education and entertainment during COVID-19 — and it's paying off. 

When COVID-19 restrictions were first put into place on P.E.I., the library had processed 75 applications for new memberships, but that number has since grown.

"At this point, it's over 350," said Roseanne Gauthier, the youth services librarian with P.E.I.'s Public Library Service.

"Our online electronic resources ... that has grown to a number that I never thought I would see. I checked it last night and ... our April views for Tumble stories is 13,000," she said.

"I'm excited by that because I know that's 13,000 stories that kids in P.E.I. have listened to in the last month."

Gauthier noted that before the pandemic an average month would see about 400 views for its electronic books for children. 

Expanding resources

Since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, Gauthier said book vendors and publishers have been very generous with their materials. 

"Like recognizing that this is a very different time for people who are looking for ways to either entertain or educate themselves at home," she said. 

As a result, Gauthier said some of the library's electronic resources — which mirror the physical offerings on shelves — have been expanded over the last several weeks and are available for free. 

What we're seeing is, especially people who are avid readers, they're looking for ways to connect with other readers.— Roesanne Gauthier, youth services librarian

The library's subscription to ancestry.ca has also offered its library edition to allow Islanders at home access to the genealogical research service until at least the end of May, she said. 

In addition the library launched a virtual book club run on Facebook Live on Friday mornings. 

'What we're seeing is, especially people who are avid readers, they're looking for ways to connect with other readers at this time," Gauthier said. 

Weekly contests

The library has also been holding weekly contests as another way to connect with Islanders. New contests, and the previous week's winners, are announced on social media on Wednesdays.

This week's contest is an Anne of Green Gables escape room.

"It's done completely online through Google forms, so you have to solve all the puzzles and answer all the questions," she said.

"The premise of the escape room is that Josie Pye has stolen Marilla's amethyst broach and framed Anne, so that Anne can't go to the Sunday school picnic." 

Anything that gets kids reading is going to be crucial this summer.— Roseanne Gauthier, youth services librarian

The library's annual summer reading events will also be moving online, Gauthier said. 

"We're going to be offering online programming for pre-schoolers, school-aged kids and then another set of programs for teens and adults. Those will start up on June 22," she said. 

"The summer reading club is always an exciting and important program. Not only is it important to encourage kids to find the joy in reading, and encourage them to keep up their reading over the summer but we also talk about how to prevent the summer slide." 

As children haven't been attending school since March, Gauthier said the program is more important than ever.

"Anything that gets kids reading is going to be crucial this summer." 

COVID-19: What you need to know

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Common symptoms include:

  • Fever.
  • Cough.
  • Tiredness.

But more serious symptoms can develop, including difficulty breathing and pneumonia, which can lead to death.

Health Canada has built a self-assessment tool.

What should I do if I feel sick?

Isolate yourself and call 811. Do not visit an emergency room or urgent care centre to get tested. A health professional at 811 will give you advice and instructions.

How can I protect myself?

  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Clean regularly touched surfaces regularly.
  • Practise physical distancing.

More detailed information on the outbreak is available on the federal government's website.

More from CBC P.E.I.

With files from Mainstreet P.E.I.

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