As many households enter a weeks-long period of self isolation, the Terrace Public Library and Misty River Books are adapting to provide readers with access to new material as the COVID-19 pandemic drags on.
Until last week residents who weren’t already members of the library could call in to sign up for a card and borrow books online. Since then several staff have started working from home and are unable to process applicants. However library director David Tremblay expects the call-in system will be reactivated by Monday (March 30).
“If you don’t have a library card just call us next week and we’ll issue you one over the phone,” Terrace Public Library’s director, David Tremblay, said. “It will be temporary but you can come in when we’re open during regular hours again and we’ll provide you with a permanent card.”
The Terrace library closed its doors and book-drop March 16 following the Provincial Health Officer’s order to end all gatherings of more than 50 people to lessen the spread of COVID-19, and strong recomendations self isolate at home.
To eliminate cross contamination through borrowed material, the library is asking members to hold on to books and all other items until the pandemic passes. All late fees will be waived.
Until then an array of e-books, audio books, movies and other multimedia is available with membership through the E-library on terracelibrary.ca.
Some book publishers are currently increasing the number of digital copies available to libraries, which Tremblay hopes will reduce potential wait lists.
Just for kids
Tumblebooks, to which the Terrace library normally does not subscribe, has also released its vast catalogue of educational digital material — books, graphic novels, math stories, National Geographic documentaries, for example — for unlimited use by the public until Aug. 31. Links to its resources can be found through the Terrace library website.
Tremblay said staff are now transitioning their spring break programming into an online environment so children can participate from home. Activities will be rolled out on Facebook during and after the school break.
“We have regular spring break programs to provide educational content for kids, but with the library being closed to the public because of COVID-19 we quickly had to change what we had planned for in-house to be adaptable as a remote experience. There’s the potential there might be some crafting that people can find materials for at home, a variety of story telling through social media —that sort of thing.”
Those buy books in the Terrace area can still rely on Misty River Books to deliver — literally.
The public can place orders over the phone, Facebook Messenger or online at mistyriverbooks.com and staff will meet customers in the parking lot to safely drop the book onto the vehicle’s passenger seat.
Those taking steeper measures to self isolate can also have their orders delivered to their home in the Terrace and Thornhill areas. The service is free of charge for the time being.
“Our online orders have spiked —I’ve never seen so many orders in a day,” owner Anna Beddie said. “People can easily see online if we have what they want in stock.”
Beddie said the vast majority of customers are using the online shopping option, but the storefront remains open on a limited basis. Only three people are allowed in the shop at the same time. Floor markers have been placed at six-foot increments to encourage social distancing. Staff are regularly disinfecting commonly touched areas.
“Until we’re legislated as a non-essential service we’re going to stay open and do what we can,” Beddie said.