The Okanagan Regional Library will reopen its 30 branches gradually, as it enters its Phase 3: browse and borrow stage amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (File photo)

COVID-19: Okanagan libraries to reopen for browsing

More than 80,000 items loaned out through curbside pickup program ahead of Phase 3

The doors to the library will once again reopen to members of the public amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Following the Okanagan Regional Library’s (ORL) successful curbside delivery program, which has been in place since early June, library patrons are eager to get back into the stacks and browse the materials once again, CEO Don Nettleton said Thursday, July 2.

The browse and borrow stage, or Phase 3 of the ORL’s reopening, will see limited numbers of patrons to enter the libraries across the Okanagan, browse the collection, use socially-distanced computers and borrow materials “unlike how the library functioned before COVID-19,” the statement reads.

Meeting rooms, spaces, study rooms, public seating and other gathering areas in the library will remain closed to the public for the time being and patrons are encouraged to select materials quickly, check out using the self-checkout and leave quickly to allow for others to enter.

“We know the public is anxious to enter Library space once again, browse their favourite materials and use our computers to access the web and other needed online services,” Nettleton said.

“We ask that when the library opens for our Phase 3 browse and borrow service that visitors follow the outlined processes and rules so that everybody stays healthy and safe.”

Libraries were first closed on March 17 amid growing concerns surrounding the novel coronavirus.

On June 2, ORL branches began offering curbside pickup.

“Over the first couple of weeks, we checked in over 75,000 physical items and re-loaned almost 80,000 new ones,” Nettleton said.

Phase 3 will be implemented gradually across the 30 ORL branches throughout the month of July.

Exact dates and adjusted hours of operation will be posted over the next few weeks as details are finalized. Visit orl.bc.ca for more information.

READ MORE: Curbside reads available as Okanagan libraries reopen

READ MORE: RCMP seek help finding missing Vernon senior


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