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March 16, 2020, ORL News
As you know, the Okanagan Regional Library has been closely monitoring the developments related to COVID-19. This is a continually evolving situation, and we continue to try to follow the advice of our health authorities and science as opposed to the hype and rumours.
Our primary concern is the health and safety of our customers and our staff and those vulnerable in our community. While the current risk assessment is still low for the BC interior and our communities, we know that it could increase at any time. We have previously cancelled all large programs for 250 or more people to “help flatten the curve” through social distancing as directed by our provincial Health officer.
What are we doing?
Library Programs Cancelled
Today our leadership team has made the decision that we will be cancelling all other programming for an indefinite period of time. Much of the planned programming over the next few weeks was special children’s programming occurring over the spring break period. These programs are normally very popular, and our library spaces are generally small.
Many programs involve the use and sharing of small technology pieces as well as crafts and special speakers and events.
These sorts of activities and spaces do not allow us to safely manage the social distancing risk, especially with children, and so during these unusual times, like many organizations across Canada, we have made the difficult choice to cancel these for the safety of our communities.
For now, our branches will be open to the public as usual but this could change with little notice depending upon staffing or public health requirements. We will post changes to social media and our website when they occur, or as soon as we are able.
If you have materials currently on loan, you can still return them while we remain open, providing you are not sick. We would ask that if you are sick, please do not return your materials until you are entirely recovered. We will be waiving new fines for the period of March 16 -April 30.
Should the Library have to fully close, we will be closing all book returns and would ask that you keep your material until we reopen are reminding the public to be vigilant with hand washing and to maintain safe distances.
Additional Actions Being Taken
To this effect, where possible, we may be moving or removing seating and equipment in our branches to provide more space between people, and we will be encouraging people to use the self-checkout machines to minimize contact with staff and others.
Remember that you can still get ORL services online at ORL.BC.CA even if the Library has to fully close. Please take advantage of our digital e-materials. If you are self-isolated or quarantined, in addition to our e-books and e-audio books, it might be an excellent opportunity to consider learning a new language with Rosetta Stone or develop other new skills with Lynda.com.
Thank you for your support, understanding, and patience during this difficult time as we work together to ensure the well-being of all in our communities.
Chief Executive Officer Okanagan Regional Library