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New Tecumseth libraries launch curbside pickup

May 29, 2020   ·   0 Comments

Bookworms throughout New Tecumseth rejoice! All three of the Town’s library branches introduced curbside pickup on Monday, allowing readers to check out physical books for the first time in roughly 10 weeks. 

The curbside pickup is available Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and patrons can request books by calling 705-435-5651 in Alliston, 905-729-3726 in Beeton, or 905-936-2291 in Tottenham. Alternatively, they can visit and fill out a Curbside Request Form.

“We’ve already had a lot of people calling in and putting in their orders, so there’s definitely a lot of excitement about this,” said Graeme Peters, Interim CEO at the library.

While New Tecumseth has offered e-books throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, not everyone tech savvy or has access to an e-reader.

“A lot of our patrons aren’t online and we were totally missing that population, so we’re really happy we’re able to offer something for them as well,” said Peters.

Currently the local library is solely offering curbside pickup, without delivery services at this time but Peters said they may look into mailing or transporting books to those without access in the future.

The library has been tasked with implementing curbside pickup since Premier Doug Ford’s announcement that libraries would be allowed to offer the service on May 16.

“We just spent the last week and a half scrambling to get rules and guidelines and health and safety things in place because we want to keep our staff safe and we want to keep the public safe,” Peters said.

Staff will be wearing full Personal Protective Equipment when handling the books or any library materials and enacting safety measures where they can to limit COVID-19’s spread.

Meanwhile, much of the public misses visiting their local library as it has long been a vital part of the community and acts as a community hub for Town residents.

“I think this has been a challenge for a lot of people and I think libraries play a big role, especially in a context like the present one, where people are stuck at home and looking for things to occupy themselves,” Peters said.

“It offers a diversion, it helps them stay engaged and feel like they’re a part of something bigger.”

Peters said the library staff are excited for the day when patrons can safely use the facility again in whatever capacity that may be.

“I suspect it’s going to be kind of a phased and staged reopening where we’ll have limited amounts of people able to come in at a time and limited amounts of people able to use our computers or things like that,” he explained.

The layout of the library may actually have to change to be compliant with health and safety guidelines but the specifics of a full reopening are still unknown, according to Peters.

He said they’re waiting on more details from the Provincial government, so they can efficiently work through each phase of Ontario’s reopening plans.

The new Tottenham Library Branch, which was originally slated for completion in January of 2020 but was pushed to June, has endured additional delays because of COVID-19.

Peters said this is the reality for many construction projects across the province but he’s hopeful for a completion in August or September, although it’s not for certain.

“We’ll just have to roll with the punches and hopefully we open that new branch soon,” he said.

Going forward, in regards to curbside pickup, Peters said the library will scale it up or scale it back depending on demand over the next few weeks and will be looking into interlibrary loans or similar programs going forward.

Online groups, services, and outreach initiatives are continuing. To stay up to date visit the “New Tecumseth Public Library” page on Facebook.

“I’m really happy we’re able to step up our service level going forward,” Peters said.

By Sam Odrowski
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter


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