"at your library" in the north island eagle: columns published since re-opening, part 1: library takeout

Since the lockdown ended, I've been writing my column in the free local newspaper again. These columns seem very specific and not of wide interest, but since I started collecting the columns on this blog, I want the record to be complete. 

At Your Library: Your Library Is Coming Back… One Step at a Time

Welcome back! I’m so very happy to welcome you back to your local branch of the Vancouver Island Regional Library (VIRL). 

I hope you weathered the lockdown in relative comfort and safety, and that you and your loved ones are all healthy. It’s been such an unusual time, with so many unknowns, and for many people, a real struggle. I can speak for all library staff when I say, we missed being able to help you through it.

VIRL is taking steps towards a gradual return of library services. We’ve worked hard to design a system that protects the health of our customers and library staff, follows all the provincial health guidelines, and still provides access to your library. Quite a challenge!

Right now we are pleased to offer “Library Takeout”. During certain hours, you can visit your local branch to drop off items and pick up something new. For now, you’ll only be able to borrow books, DVDs, videogames, and magazines that are currently in the branch. We won’t be able to order anything in from other branches – for now. 

By the time you read this, Takeout hours will be running at all VIRL libraries. In Port Hardy, there will be two Takeout hours daily, Wednesdays through Saturdays. The other North Island branches – Port Alice, Port McNeill, Sointula, and Woss – will offer Takeout hours on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. To check the hours, please visit the VIRL website at virl.bc.ca/branches or go to your branch’s Facebook page.

Takeout service is built around all the necessary health and safety guidelines, to help prevent the potential spread of COVID-19 – social distancing, disinfecting, and frequent hand-washing. All library materials will be quarantined for 72 hours in between customers.

Since April, free wireless internet access has been available 24/7 outside all VIRL branches. Most of our e-resources are available from your home or workplace, including Ancestry Library (normally available in-branch only). If you need help with any library resources, you can call VIRL at 1-877-415-8475 or email info@virl.bc.ca. 

You can also call or email for any reference or research need, including suggestions for what to read or watch next. Library staff is there to help you, Monday to Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Another option is VIRL’s “One Book, One Community” online book club. Right now we’re reading Greenwood by Michael Christie. Greenwood is a multigenerational family story, linking the fates of five people on a remote island off the B.C. coast over the course of 100 years. The award-winning author, Michael Christie, lives on Galiano Island. 

You can access Greenwood as an e-book or an e-audiobook. If you need help getting started, call us at 1-877-415-8475 or email info@virl.bc.ca.

With access to physical books limited, this is a great time to become more familiar with VIRL’s many e-resources. In my next few columns, I’ll take a look at some amazing options that may surprise you. (If you missed my column on Ancestry Library, and you’re interested, email me!) If you’ve never tried an e-book or e-audiobook, why not start now? It’s free, and as always, we’re here to help.

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