Staff at the Harbourfront library in Nanaimo welcomed more than 3,170 customers in 22 days during a Walkthrough Service pilot. Photo supplied

Vancouver Island Regional Library branches preparing for walkthrough service

In the first 22 days of opening for Vancouver Island Regional Library’s Walkthrough Service pilot, staff at the Harbourfront branch have welcomed more than 3,170 customers, helping them browse and checkout materials safely.

Averaging 144 customers per day, visitors followed safety protocols and staff direction, and received an “overwhelmingly positive response.”

During the pilot, less than eight customers at a time were allowed to enter during walkthrough service hours. Most wore masks and used hand sanitizer stations when entering and exiting.

Grab N Go bags – a safe, touchless alternative to browsing – were also a hit at the branch and contained books of particular interest to customers based on previous experience and librarian knowledge. A total of 73 were checked out during the 22-day period. Staff were thrilled with feedback they received on social media about a bag with resources for teaching kids about racism and black identity.

Additional VIRL branches are preparing for walkthrough service in the coming days and weeks. VIRL will also launch its first Sit Down Service at the Bella Coola branch on Aug. 19 where customers can browse the branch’s entire collection and sit down to enjoy their materials, all in an environment that’s safe, controlled, and sanitized.

For updates on your local branch, visit

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