Libraries across the Okanagan are beginning to open, but there are a few new steps that we have all become used to from social distancing — such as maintaining at least six feet of distance from others and using hand sanitizer when entering the library.
“Phase three of our COVID-19 reopening plan we are calling browse and borrow, so it’s the first time we are having customers back in our building browsing since we closed back in March,” said Christine McPhee, Okanagan Regional Library director of public services.
Library patrons must keep their distance from one another while browsing and are asked to check out and leave instead of lingering.
Meanwhile, meeting rooms have been closed and reading nooks taped off to prevent the spread of COVID-19. As for the books themselves, extra precautions have been taken by employees at the libraries.
“Just to be sure that the items we are handling and returning to our shelves for customers to browse are safe we are quarantining materials for 72 hours,” said McPhee.
McPhee says that the extra work for staff is worth it to safely expand beyond an online borrowing system.
“Maybe (patrons]) will encounter something that they may have not (have) thought of when they are able to see the materials on the shelf and access the library space,” said McPhee.
To keep imaginations alive, the Okanagan Regional Library is still running programming such as storytime online and they have launched their summer reading club.
Find all the details about which libraries are open and the restrictions around each individual one on their website www.orl.bc.ca