CULC/CBUC Toolkit on Recovery & Reimagined Public Library Services Post COVID-19

Information Services

Stories from the Field

Offering Traditional Library Services Virtually

Developing & Leveraging Existing Tools to Help Customers Navigate Library Resources

Work With Local Partners & Community Organizations to Develop Community Resources that are Accessible to Customers

  • Oakville Public Library, Burlington Public Library, Milton Public Library and Halton Hills Public Library maintain the Halton Community Service Directory. COVID-19 specific topic lists have been created and organization listings are being updated regularly with service changes. HCSD information is being utilized by Halton municipalities to support pandemic planning efforts
  • Hamilton Public Library Red Book staff have created topical lists that are available to the public and HPL frontline staff featuring resources about government financial support during COVID-19, resources for seniors, mental health supports, local COVID-19 assessment centres, food resources that are open for those experiencing food insecurity, and where free tax clinics are still being held in the area. Red Book staff are also continuing to provide up-to-date information to Ontario 211 about the Hamilton region
  • These resources are customized, providing important information about local health and emergency services for persons experiencing vulnerabilities and who may be without digital access. New accessibility to the Toronto PL website, some new features include:
  • Surrey Libraries created a patron searchable community resources sub-site with COVID-19 specific resources

Offering ESL Services & Services in Other Languages

  • Hamilton Public Library continues to offer newcomer services through online ESL tutoring and has partnered with McMaster students to provide multilingual calls to socially isolated seniors
  • Surrey Libraries uses its municipality’s translation services available in more than 170 languages via phone,
  • Toronto Public Library’s Library Settlement Partnership (LSP) has transitioned to remote. Settlement workers continue to provide services and support to newcomers by phone, email and web chat. For a more detailed description of how LSP is responding to COVID-19, see this recent blog post

Connecting With Customers Who May Be Socially Isolated

  • Through the Friendly Calling Project, Hamilton Public Library staff call active library customers over the age of 75 to see how they are doing and if they would like regular callbacks. Staff listen to customer stories, provide information services and help with community referrals and online resources
  • Fort Worth Library is calling all customers over the age of 65
  • Toronto Public Library has printed resources highlighting essential services that have been posted at the entrances of 42 branch locations

Distributing Technology

  • Calgary Public Library distributed over 300 Chromebooks and another 100 are staged and awaiting distribution through a City of Calgary contact (who deploys them to various social agencies). 50 of that next 100 are designated for distribution to Indigenous users
  • Saskatoon Public Library has loaned Chromebooks, WiFi hotspot, laptops to volunteers working with people who need assistance to apply for government support programs

Providing Ways for Customers to Get a Library Card

Offering Remote Printing Solutions

  • Calgary Public Library has developed Everyone Print allowing customers to send a print job from home and have staff print it by entering the library barcode
  • Coquitlam Public Library offers print services via email