unknown at this time,» explained Belle Isle. Champlain Township Cynthia Martin, head librarian for the Champlain Public Library, looks forward to welcoming patrons back inside. First, she noted, the library board has to review and approve everything necessary to allow the library to meet the pandemic public health safety guidelines. “It has to be a library board decision,” Martin said, during a July 16 interview. Martin noted that the library will need to have a plexiglass shield at the reception/ checkout desk, and staff will need training in social distancing guidelines to follow for themselves and patrons. One question Mar- tin needs answered is what guidelines does the provincial government have for patron behaviour inside the library, whether or not they are allowed to browse the shelves, and do library staff need to “quarantine” books that someone took off a shelf and then put back instead of taking it to the checkout desk to sign out. The Vankleek Hill-based Champlain Library serves both the residents of Cham- plain Township and also East Hawkesbury Township. Martin noted that there will have to be a limit on the number of people allowed to be inside the library at any time during the day. “So we’re crunching the numbers on that now,” she said. For some residents, the library is their Internet access site, through use of the public computer station. Martin noted that when the library reopens to the public, users may be limited to just one public computer station and they may have to follow an appointment and time limit system. Martin anticipates that the curbside pic- kup and drop-off system for library books and other materials will continue for a while even after full public access is restored. She noted that the number of people phoning or emailing to reserve a book or other library item for later collection has increased at

Open or closed? Local libraries are among the institutions and businesses that can open their doors now as part of Stage 3 of Phase Two of the provincial government’s pandemic recovery plan for Ontario. The Hawkesbury Public Library will open its doors to the public as of August 4 with several restrictions in place. “It will be a good adjustment to make at first,” said Lynn Belle Isle, General Manager of the Hawkesbury Library. At least people are already used to abiding by many of these measures.” Among these measures, visitors will be allowed a maximum period of 15 minutes inside the library, in order to allow as many people as possible to visit the library while respecting the physical distancing measures. Other measures to be respected inside the library include hand disinfection upon arrival, one-way circulation, wearing a mask and other instructions such as choosing books without taking them in one’s hands for consultation and placing any book touched but not chosen on a cart for this purpose. In addition, library staff will ensure that any books that are returned are quarantined for 72 hours. All the instructions to be followed will be posted at the entrance to the library. The implementation of these measures will allow the public to enter the library from Monday to Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. for the circulation service. As a complement to this service, the contactless loan service, which is already offered at present, will continue to be offered outside the opening hours of the loan service. People who do not wish to enter the library will therefore continue to be able to reserve their books by e-mail or telephone and pick them up at specific times. Although the reopening is announced for August 4, it is not known at this time how long these measures will be in place «It’s

The Hawkesbury Public Library will reopen its doors to the public August 4 with staff ready to maintain public health safety guidelines as part of the provincial government’s pandemic recovery plan. —photo Gregg Chamberlain

a steady rate since the curbside program began. Alfred-Plantagenet Dominique Lascelle, of the Alfred-Plan- tagenet Library, said that the library will remain closed for the time being (except for curbside service), possibly throughout July and August. She explains the decision this way: «It’s for the safety of the customers and our employees as well». She also mentioned that logistically, it becomes quite complicated to

disinfect everything and to respect all the sanitary measures in the context of a library if access is given to the public. Curbside service is still available she added. Patrons can reserve their books by e-mail or telephone and pick them up there. The library’s website also has books available for electronic consultation and, although access to the library remains closed to the public, it is possible for the public to submit questions by e-mail or telephone. *With notes from Gregg Chamberlain


The TD Summer Reading Club at the Champlain Public Library is going strong. Abby Emberg, one of this season’s members won an Ollyball during one of the club’s prize draws for registration in the summer reading club. All children 13 years and under who live within the Champlain Library’s service area are encouraged to sign up for the program, which provides various activities during the summer, For more information on how your child can register for the program, visit the library’s website at or call 613-678-2216. —supplied photo

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