Book it to the Squamish library | Squamish Chief

Book it to the Squamish library

Contactless, curbside pickup now offered

Getting bored with your own books?

Good news, then, because the Squamish Public Library reopened for takeout service on May 21.

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Director of library services Hilary Bloom said on May 22 that though the library started the service in a soft-launch fashion, the response has been strong and readers should be patient as staff sort through requests.

"Already, we're getting lots of requests through our website and phone from people who are wanting to put a hold on items," she said. "It's chugging along.

"We're rolling it out in a way [that's] based on the capacity of our staff, so we're only able to run it for limited hours at this point. We're pacing ourselves in terms of how many requests we're fulfilling at a time."

Under the new system, when readers' requests are fulfilled, they are notified and told that they can swing by the library. They drive around back and ring the doorbell. A staff member responds through a nearby window and retrieves the items, placing them outside the door.

"It's basically a contactless, curbside pick-up," Bloom said.

In addition to the inherent joy of serving patrons again, library staff members are also excited by an initiative in which they can make recommendations through the readers' advisory service if asked.

"Staff help patrons with choosing materials, selecting based on their interests and then either using the catalogue or doing it on behalf of the patron. Different people have different preferences and abilities in terms of how they want to get this done," she said. "Staff are in their happy place. This is what they're really good at, helping people hone in on the titles that will be what they're looking for."

All items checked out at this point will have a due date of July 3, longer than the standard three-week window. However, the return slot will remain open for earlier returns.

"We aren't sure what the next steps are going to look like in terms of opening up services, so basically, we just wanted to make sure people didn't feel pressured or rushed to get materials back to us," she said.

When the library receives items back, they will go through a 72-hour quarantine period before being put back into circulation. Bloom said the provincial network of library directors and library systems has come together effectively to create the new standards.

"We're ensuring that they are undergoing a 72-hour quarantine before being checked in, shelved, handled again, just to again ensure the safety of everyone, including the staff," she said.

Those who feel ill or have a household member who does are discouraged from using the service until they feel better.

A small selection of items such as video game consoles and larger kits are not being made available at this time as they do not fit in the return slot.

"Almost everything is available to be borrowed again," Bloom said.

Bloom added that there's not yet an indication when the library will reopen its doors to visitors, but stressed that the takeout services fulfill a major part of the library's mandate.

"The thing that people have been missing most is getting those items in their hands, so we want to make sure that we're doing it safely and we're doing it well," she said. "We want to be leaders in safe provision of services as opposed to the fastest to get back to a full reopening."

Bloom added that after closing in mid-March, the library shifted programming such as storytime and all-ages programming online, while it also has myriad digital resources available.

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