Friendly calls from Hamilton Public Library staff create special connection with seniors during COVID-19
The calls began as a way to help older cardholders access the Hamilton Public Library’s (HPL) online offerings, but for many it became something more — a friendly voice and link to the rest of the world as everything around them seemed to be shutting down. The callers contacted those with electronic devices as well as those without. Conversations happened weekly or monthly, depending on the interest level of the person picking up. Follow up calls revealed how excited they were to discover the digital options and the joy they felt at mastering the website.
Toronto Public Library staff have been calling seniors to let them know they are thinking about them.
About 20 TPL staff began by calling 9,000 customers ages 80 and over, as well as all 1,000 Home Library Service customers. These calls provide a friendly check-in, and our staff can also share information about our services and offer assistance. Next on their list is to call customers ages 70 to 79, approximately 13,000 more people!
Innovative Shifts to Halifax’s Public Spaces Due to COVID-19
A round-up of some of the clever ways the Halifax community took the challenges of COVID-19 and flipped them to create opportunities for all.
Design Ideas for the Post-Pandemic Public Library
The ideas came out of the findings from a survey of the American Library Association (ALA) community and a virtual roundtable with representatives who lead or operate 10 public libraries across the U.S. Both the survey questions and the roundtable discussion focused on the current challenges public libraries are facing and opportunities for long-term change in response to the pandemic.
The Edmonton Public Library is offering 3D printing workshops under their makerspace and making events
In Edmonton, outdoor library services set up for homeless
The Edmonton Public Library is taking some of its operations outside to give the city’s homeless a place to read books and magazines, use a laptop computer or participate in adult classes. Called EPL on the Square, the pilot project has three designated areas in Sir Winston Churchill Square for outdoor library services. The initiative is a collaboration between EPL and the City of Edmonton, was launched five days after the Edmonton EXPO Centre closed as a temporary drop-in day shelter. The city, social agencies and the province have been working on a plan to find hundreds of physically distanced spaces during the COVID-19 pandemic since the EXPO closed.
Halifax Public Libraries encouraging people to get outside
The Halifax Public Libraries have made changes so working outside is more attractive. This includes pushing the public WiFi out into the fresh air and providing seating to reduce the likelihood of congestion; allowing borrowed electronic devices like Chromebooks and iPads to leave the building. “When they sign that iPad out, they can actually go take that outside now, and they can sit outside and use the free WiFi and use the library’s iPad to access information, or to watch a film or read an ebook,” says Kachen.
Halifax Public Libraries and Museums offer free reusable cloth masks to those without access
Each person can request up to two masks per immediate family member. They’re adjustable and come in both adult and youth sizes.
Free Internet Connectivity Kits from the Library provide vital connection for some of Toronto’s most vulnerable residents
Toronto Public Library (TPL), in partnership with Renewed Computer Technology and with support from the Toronto Public Library Foundation, recently launched its Internet Connectivity Kit program. The initiative provides vital connections for some of our city’s most vulnerable residents by equipping them with a free laptop and WiFi hotspot with four months of unlimited data. Participants will keep the laptop and Wi-Fi hotspot at the end of the program.
Toronto Public Library to offer free WiFi in two parks The city is teaming with the library to give residents free internet access in neighbourhoods hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic
The week-long pilot project Wi-Fi on Wheels begins on August 4. The Toronto Public Library’s bookmobile will travel to two parks in areas hit hard by the pandemic and provide free internet during the afternoon. Anyone can bring their own device to the park to connect or temporarily use a city device. City devices will be sanitized between use and staff will assess users to ensure they do not have COVID-19 symptoms. Toronto Public Health data shows that the northwest parts of the city are being most affected during the coronavirus pandemic. As of the weekend, the Jane and Finch and Rexdale areas had 511 and 496 cases, respectively.
All the things the library has done for Halifax residents since shutting its doors for COVID-19: the city’s unofficial social worker.
Here’s a list of what Halifax Public Libraries has been able to do so far:
- Reorganized website to prioritize virtual services and brought whole programs online through the Virtual Library.
- Upgraded the E-Library to make in-branch services like PressReader and Ancestry available at home; introduced new online resources like Kanopy, RomanceBookCloud, Public Library Online and TumbleBooksMath.
- Set up an Ask the Library phone line to connect with and provide assistance to our community.
- Provided snack packs for families
- Loaned community organizations some technology items, including wifi hotspots and Chromebooks to a couple of shelters, and books and games to a children’s service provider.
- Set up portable toilets at Halifax Central Library
- Worked with Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP) to offer virtual tax clinics
- Shifted staff to lead content for the Human Library Videos (storytime, how-to’s), social media and website blogs.
Salvation Army and Newfoundland Library partner to support vulnerable families
A public library in Wayne County has teamed up with Salvation Army to deliver non-perishable foods to marginalized families by developing a volunteer-led pop-up food pantry in the library’s parking lot.
Library and museum staff helping in seniors’ homes during pandemic
More than 50 people who used to work in Bruce County’s libraries and museums have been asked if they could work with seniors instead. To date, the former librarians and archivists have just been screening people as they enter the nursing homes, but they’ll soon be trained to take residents to meals, clean bed pans, organize rooms, and eventually, even answer some call bells.
How public libraries are helping Nova Scotians: bookmobile, loaning out tablets, etc.
“We’re more than just some reading material,” said Troy Myers, chief librarian of South Shore Public Libraries. “So we want to do what we can to make sure those social connections are maintained.”
Regina Public Library putting its servers to use crunching COVID-19 data
Through a partnership with Folding@home, four of the RPL’s servers and five computers from its Digital Media Studio are hard at work crunching data that scientists around the world are using to research COVID-19.
Newfoundland libraries adapting to isolation world with move to digital
Includes support in how residents can use virtual libraries to hold book clubs, learn things, go digital, etc.
Canada’s libraries step up to help vulnerable people during pandemic
In Toronto, nine TPL branches have been converted into food distribution centers in the past few weeks, in partnership with three local food banks. In Montreal the Grande Bibliothèque, the largest library in Quebec has been transformed into a daytime respite space for homeless people.
Kitchener Public Library has a Twitter thread of staffs’ pets enjoying some reading
Regina Library offers a Twitter thread on hand washing
It can be tough to teach proper hand washing to kids. So the library put together a thread of kids books as hand soaps.
Canadian Libraries Respond to COVID-19
With public libraries across Canada suddenly shuttered in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, library leaders and workers across the country are quickly adapting to still serve people, primarily online. This article describes some of the initiatives across the country of libraries or library staff.
Mississauga Library’s electronic collection to almost triple through sharing plan with Burlington and Hamilton: Over 151K total electronic titles available in agreement
As part of the agreement, Mississauga library users could borrow up to 10 items in total from the Hamilton and Burlington electronic collections and place five more titles on hold. Mississauga library users would still be permitted to borrow 10 items from their local system, and place 20 titles on hold.
Toronto Public Library (TPL) providing brand new books for children, free of charge, in food hampers being distributing through its pop-up food banks
When clients visit a food bank at a TPL branch, library staff will add an age-appropriate book for each child in a family who is interested. TPL’s food banks have been set up in partnership with North York Harvest Food Bank, Daily Bread Food Bank and Second Harvest in nine library branches across the city.
How the Toronto Public Library is transforming branches into food banks
Libraries as community hubs and librarians as public servants… Almost right away, the library decided to redirect resources to help with this critical need. There are 100 library buildings in neighbourhoods all across the city.
Toronto Public Library partners with local food banks to set up food bank distribution from library branches
Since the implementation of measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 transmission, there has been a dramatic decrease in access to food banks, with over a third closing in recent weeks. TPL’s efforts are in support of the City’s broader work on food security for Toronto’s vulnerable residents.
City staff, school workers proposing ways to keep themselves busy and services functioning
In Winnipeg, library and recreation centre employees, whose jobs have become temporarily obsolete in an unexpected pandemic, are stocking shelves for Winnipeg Harvest, or filling sandbags to save homes prone to spring flooding.
Library Shelf Isolation Read-a-thon
Fundraiser for the Calgary Public Library Foundation. A Shelf Isolation Read-a-thon combines our need to self-isolate, reading, community and supporting the Library.
The Ramara Public Library is offering new services to help those who want to obtain services during the closure of the library due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Offerings include online resources — from learning new languages and computer skills, to learning new hobbies, gardening, health, business, ebooks and audiobooks, emagazines, and a poetry contest!
Libraries in Toronto, Kitchener and Stratford loan 3D printers to hospitals to make face shields for healthcare workers
The Toronto Public Library just announced that they’re temporarily donating 10 of their Ultimaker 2+ 3D printers to a team at Toronto General Hospital making personal protective equipment (PPE) for front-line healthcare workers. Other Ontario libraries, such as those in Kitchener and Stratford, have also agreed to loan their 3D printers to PPE production efforts.
While Halifax Public Libraries are closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, their website continues to provide support
The Halifax public library site contains information on public health, links to e-books/audiobooks; resources for small business; tips on how to talk to children about COVID-19; and mental health tips and support
Toronto’s Largest Food Bank to Open Pop-Up Locations – in closed libraries & parking lots
Since the COVID-19 outbreak took hold of Toronto there’s been 20 percent growth in the number of clients making use of Toronto’s Daily Bread Food Bank over a span of the last two weeks. The pressure to provide food to new clients coupled with required social distancing has forced the food bank to change its operations in a dramatic way. They’ve partnered with GlobalMedic and set up a medical hospital mobile field tent in the food bank’s parking lot. Now the food comes out on a conveyor belt from inside the tent.