Since early June, the Vancouver Island Regional Library has been offering ‘takeout’ service for the public via the internet.
Customers can place holds using an online catalogue. Staff then collect requested items and connect with customers to arrange a pick-up time.
As per physical distancing guidelines, all materials are quarantined for 72 hours between loans.
Libraries in Courtenay, Comox and Cumberland continue to host events such as Minecraft and the Summer Reading Club — online, that is.
Hornby Island and Union Bay branches have also re-opened for online service.
“The key with the takeout service is that every step of the process, health and safety is the number one priority,” said David Carson, VIRL communications manager. “Whether that’s the quarantining of materials in between uses or sanitizing any spaces that a customer may have come into contact with.”
Since the onset of COVID-19, he said VIRL has noticed a huge upswing in digital services.
“We’ve seen our e library skyrocket as a result of the pandemic,” Carson said. “It has, for years, been the fastest growing aspect of our collection.”
The Harbourfront branch in Nanaimo has initiated a pilot walkthrough service where a limited number of patrons can browse and check out items.
“It’s a very specific, controlled area of the branch that’s open to the public,” Carson said. “There’s a small, limited collection in there which is curated by staff. They try to keep it refreshed, and try to have a collection that caters to a diversity of reading habits. It’s been successful.”
In the first five days, more than 800 people walked through the doors at Harbourfront.
“We hope to offer this service at more branches in the near future, as well as sit down services in some of our smaller communities,” Carson said.