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Local libraries prepare to open curbside pickup during pandemic

The library system is figuring out ways to make space within their facilities to safely separate quarantined books
Stock photo.

***Update: The Kitchener Public Library is hoping to offer the service by June 15***

Starting Tuesday, our local libraries will be able to reopen for pick-up.

But for local libraries, that can create a whole new set of complications.

Now, the library system is figuring out ways to make space within their facilities to safely separate quarantined books.

Kitchener Public Library CEO Mary Chevreau says their primary concern is to protect the health and wellbeing of their staff.

"We have to ensure that we have the proper amount of PPE or personal protective equipment. We have a large -- like, in the tens of thousands, something like 80,000 items are circulating or have been returned."

Chevreau says quarantining a large number of books in a safe way can take up a lot of space in the facility, trucks and storage rooms, which is something libraries were not prepared for coming into the pandemic.

"That is equipment and gear that we don't necessarily have because normally our materials move much faster than that, so we have an inventory backlog in terms of items that are coming back, as well as a storage concern because we're going to have so much physical content in our libraries during this period."

She says the protocol most libraries are using is to put everything that's been returned into quarantine for 72 hours.

"So this is quite an infrastructure challenge actually, when we have that much material that has been quarantined and staff have to determine how to move that material around and make sure it's in the right bins for quarantining. We know when items have been returned and when that 72 hour period is finished."

Chevreau says there is a lot to consider even with curbside pickup, and they are doing everything they can to ensure the safety of staff and the public.


Aastha Shetty

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