“We have been planning curbside service since March 14th, the day we had to close our branches to the public”, said Monica Blackburn, Deputy CEO. In order to be prepared, the Library’s Reopening Committee has researched provincial, national and international COVID-19 safety best practices and consulted with the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries; the Leeds, Grenville, and Lanark District Health Unit; the Municipal Emergency Management Community Control Group; and the Library Board and staff. CEO and Chief Librarian Christine Row said, “It has been a lot of work but we are confident that every step and procedure is in line with safety guidelines. We feel ready to start this path to the ‘new normal’.”

Finding an alternative delivery method is important to Councillor Jan Maydan, Council representative on the Library Board. “The digital divide is a real dilemma in this municipality and we know that equitable access to library material is not possible if material is only available online.”

In a letter to Kevin Finnerty, Assistant Deputy Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries, Library Board Chair Cathy Peacock wrote, “Ontario libraries have long been held as institutions that ‘level the playing field’ for Ontarians’ access to information and resources.  As a result of the pandemic, a vast gulf has developed for many regular users as physical access to our public libraries has been lost.” In response to the efforts of library representatives, the Ontario government announced the approval of library curbside and delivery service as part of Stage 1 in the provincial reopening plans.

Through the support of Municipality of Mississippi Mills and the Library Board, the Library started curbside service on Tuesday, May 19th. For the first week, library staff will contact patrons with items currently on hold. Starting May 26th, curbside pick-up will be available at the Almonte Branch on Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and Thursdays from 3 p.m.to 5 p.m. and in Pakenham on Wednesdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. This schedule may change depending on demand for this service.

Following health and safety guidelines, curbside pick-up will be contact-free and all returned items will be quarantined for 24 hours. Staff will provide patrons with safety details when pick-up times are arranged. To place a pick-up order, call 613-256-1037 or email almontelib@missmillslibrary.com beginning Thursday, May 21 to place orders or for more information.  Patrons can also place reserves on specific items using the online account at www.missmillslibrary.com.

For more information on our Reopening Plan Safety Measures, please go to www.missmillslibrary.com.