Orangeville Public reopening March 1

February 26, 2021   ·   0 Comments

By Sam Odrowski

Attention readers!

The Mill Street branch of the Orangeville Public Library is reopening to the public next Monday (March 1), allowing individuals to browse collections and use computers for the first time since it closed in late December, when the Province-wide stay-at-home order was enacted.

For the last two months, the library has offered curbside pickup and will continue to do so after it opens for library card holders who may feel uncomfortable entering the building.

Orangeville Public Library CEO, Darla Fraser said there’s a sense of cautious excitement among her staff to again be able to safely serve the community in-person, while adhering to all of the Public Health protocols for COVID-19.

“The staff have been doing a stellar job, we have had no incidents, nobody’s been sick. We’re currently working on two teams that come in on alternate weeks, and we’re doing everything we can to keep everybody as safe as possible,” Fraser noted.

“We are hopeful that that opening on March 1 will just be the start of a…constant and continual gradual opening of all services and hours of operation at both branches as we continue, hopefully, safely through this year.”

For now, the Alder Recreation Centre library location is closed to the public but it will be used for pre-scheduled appointments, such as exam proctoring and extended study sessions.

When the pandemic first hit back in March of 2020, the local library converted to allow residents to register for its services online.

Downloads for electronic books and audio books skyrocketed by 100 per cent following the library’s closure last year.

Curbside pick-up first started in late May, after staff learned how to properly disinfect and quarantine books, so patrons could safely borrow items. All library materials continue to be quarantined for a minimum of 72 hours after they’re returned.

“With the curbside pick-up, we were delighted with the demand from the community,” noted Fraser. “It turned out to be a very sought-after service.”

Curbside pick-up has been expanded to offer “grab and go” bags, which is a curated collection of books, made specifically for the individual who requests it. The bags can be requested by calling 519-941-0610 or email and share your interests, favourite genres and authors.

When the pandemic kicked off almost all of the Orangeville Public Library’s frontline staff were laid off, before being rehired in mid-August, which was when the public was allowed back into the building for the first time since March.

Once the library closed, staff launched virtual programming, such as their regular storytimes, which have been posted to their YouTube channel, “Orangeville Public Library, ON.”

Workshops have changed to a virtual format and have been offered through the library during the pandemic. A consultant also recently launched a brand new website for the library, where all online resources and programs can be accessed:

Unfortunately, Battle of the Books was cancelled last year, which is an annual event for elementary school students that aims to promote literacy by encouraging reading through a fun and friendly competition.

March break programming also didn’t run in 2020, but Fraser says they may be able to adapt and offer something now that it’s opening back up for in-person service.

At one point, the Orangeville Public Library was offering access to court hearings for unrepresented accused who needed to access the court system but didn’t have the technology to do so at home.

Library staff would like to request that returns be made through the Mill St. drop box.

The library’s hours under the reopening will be 10 a.m. to 5 p.m, Monday to Saturday and patrons can access curbside pick-up during those hours as well.

In addition to books, the library rents out day passes to conservation areas and provincial parks, radon detectors, Public Health information kits, and remote internet smart spots are launching soon.

The public are required to wear masks and complete a screening with a greeter when entering the library. The library capacity is 24 with visits being limited to 45-minute sessions per day. Computer reservations can be made in advance by contacting the library. Printing, scanning and photocopying are also available.

Going forward the library is going to hire a consultant to engage with the community to learn how to better serve patrons needs.

“We’re very anxious to connect with the community and learn what Orangeville wants from its library services,” said Fraser.

“It’s a pleasure to work in the library in Orangeville and I know that the Library Board especially looks forward to just getting more in touch with the community’s needs.”

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