By Justin Seward
The Susan Andersen Library have been finalizing plans for their new normal since their temporary closure in March.
Stage 2 of Alberta’s relaunch is slated for June 19 and includes libraries. It’s expected that Bow Island’s library will open by the end of the month.
Library goers will see changes including no unattended kids under the age of 12, curbside pick up still being available for families and pushing the online system to order books where people can come in and pick up their books.
“Little kids, they don’t understand social distancing. That’s a parents job,” said Kathryn Van Dorp, librarian, on the age restriction
“They shouldn’t have to. They’re kids, they don’t understand the please don’t touch or climb on everything. We thought that was just something easier to do. Most of the libraries are on the same page with that at this point with the early days of being open.”
With the social distancing in effect, Van Dorp is only allowing four people at a time in the library.
“We’re probably going to have a greeter at the front door to say ‘Hi,’ and this is what we’re doing and how are you feeling today ,” she said.
“ I have said if you need to bring your toddler or your baby-if they’re in a carrier or a stroller- that is fine.”
Borrowing books will be the same when the library opens as people can come in and take books off the shelves with social distancing.
“We’re limited to what we have in our Bow Island collection,” said Van Dorp.
“They can phone us or email me if they have a specific list. They can still search the online catalogue.”
No holds can be made through that catalogue right now, she added.
The solarium will act as a “book quarantine” r for books because with every novel that comes back, it will have to go through a 72-hour quarantine and sanitizing process.
Bow Island Apple Drugs donated sneeze guards for the library to install.
There will be no public access to computers and washrooms at the start.
While people were in quarantine the past few months, the library put on the “Used Book Grab Bag” for locals.
The program saw staff gather kids, teens and adult books upon phone requests and put them out for the residents to pick up.
“It went fabulously. People really appreciated it,” she said.
All the kids programs have been cancelled for this summer.
The TD Summer Reading program will be offered through the library’s website.
Despite receiving funding for a summer student, Van Dorp decided not to hire summer student because of no programming and not enough work for them to do.
Van Dorp’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact was “This is against what libraries are. We share,” she said.
“We are one of the community hubs in Bow Island. We are missing all of our people.”
The public will be allowed in from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday to Friday.
There will be no evening or Saturday hours to begin the reopening.
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