toronto public library

This is how the Toronto Public Library plans to reopen its branches for regular service

Now that Toronto is entering Stage 3 of the government's plan to restart the economy, the Toronto Public Library is officially preparing to gradually reopen branches for regular in-person service. 

The TPL released its reopening plan on Thursday and it indicates that adapted in-branch services will resume beginning in mid-August, and they'll gradually return in multiple phases with a number of health and safety measures in place. 

Currently, TPL users can return materials at most branch drop boxes, place holds on new materials and schedule a time to pick them up, reserve a computer at most branches, use a variety of online services and programming and sign up for an Instant Digital Card in order to access online materials without a library card. 

The next phase will begin on Aug. 10. On this day, Torontonians will be able to pick up holds without an appointment. 

Then, starting on Aug. 17, readers will be able to sign up for a library card at open branches, use the self-checkout stations to check out holds, and book additional time on computers in the Digital Innovation Hubs (booking time returns to two-hour blocks).

More services will resume on Aug. 24, at which point library users will be able to browse and borrow items, connect and use Wi-Fi, work or study with limited seating, print and photocopy, and access quick reference services. 

Select in-person programming is expected to be available beginning in September, though free online programming will continue to be offered as well. 

Throughout the introduction of services, TPL branches will have numerous health and safety measures in place, including providing staff with PPE, intensive and frequent cleaning, handwashing protocols and physical distancing protocols with plexiglass barriers installed where physical distancing cannot be maintained.

Computer workstations will also be spaced two metres apart and sanitized in between uses, and returned materials will be quarantined for 72 hours or more until they are safe to circulate in order to meet or exceed the requirements put in place by Toronto Public Health.

TPL hasn't yet announced when closed branches will be reopening, so be sure to check the online directory to make sure your local branch is actually open before heading over. 

"With the introduction of in-branch services, the health and safety of our staff and our customers continues to be our top priority," reads the TPL plan.

"The reinstatement of our services follows the reopening framework provided by the Province of Ontario, and the advice of the Toronto Chief Medical Officer of Health and other health experts, and follows best practices within library and retail industries. Toronto Public Health has reviewed and endorsed our plans."

Lead photo by

Toronto Public Library


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