On Sept. 8, the Chestermere Public Library opened to the public, with new COVID-19 protocols.
“There were people who had tears in their eyes. We are very important to some people, some people forget that we’re here, but there’s an awful lot of people who think we’re really important in their lives,” said the Chestermere Public Library Director of Library Services, Cathy Burness.
“Either they are avid readers, they like to come in and chat, they want us as a meeting space which unfortunately we can’t be anymore, or maybe they don’t have internet at home,” she added. “There are all kinds of services that we’re able to provide that people need in order to have full lives.”
Anyone coming into the Chestermere Public Library is asked to wear a mandatory mask and follow all arrows throughout the building.
“People can come in the door and do what they need to do. They can look at books, they can return books, they check out books, they can pick up their holds, and they can use the computers,” Burness said.
Patrons can also now renew their memberships, get a new membership, or pay their overdue book fines in-person.
“We’re limiting the capacity to 20, if that is manageable, we are allowed almost double that. We know in our facility, the way it’s set up we can keep everyone safe,” Burness said.
“Masks are mandatory, when people come in we have sanitizer, and we have arrows. Some of our layout does not lend itself very well to two-way traffic, but we’re doing what we can,” she said.
In addition to mandatory masks and one-way traffic throughout the library, staffers are taking time throughout the day to clean and sanitize.
“We clean during the day and we keep to our own stations as much as possible, we also have the glass surrounding our desk, we call it our fish tank,” Burness said.
Parents and guardians can also now register their children for in-person storytime.
“People are required to register to storytime that is in person with our beloved Susan,” Burness said.
The Chestermere Public Library held the first in-person storytime on Sept. 8 since the spring.
“Of course, there’s no singing allowed, that really cut into some of the things that Susan likes to do, but they were able to get up and stomp like dinosaurs,” Burness said.
As the program room is now being used for quarantining returned books, the area in front of the fireplace has been transformed to the storytime area.
“There’s plenty of room there now. We have carpets on the floor, and we’ve moved all kinds of furniture,” Burness said.
For anyone who doesn’t want to spend a lot of time browsing the library, grab and go bags that are labelled with the genre and reading level are still available.
“Some people we’re finding are still very hesitant to come in, others are fine as long as everyone else stays in their own lane,” Burness said.
“It’s really important to us that we are accessible to everyone,” she said.
For any clients who have mobility issues or anyone who is not comfortable spending a lot of time in the library, they are encouraged to call 403-272-9025 to schedule a time to pick-up their items outside of the library.
“If mobility is an issue, or they are isolated in any way, shape, or form all they have to do is give us a call or send us an email,” Burness said.
“We’re like everybody else, all the businesses in the city are doing what they can. We’re all just doing our best to give people as much of what they need as we can, in whatever way we can,” she said.
As returned items will be placed in quarantine for seven days, any overdue fines accumulated over the quarantine time will be waived.
In addition to safety protocols regarding COVID-19, the Chestermere Public Library is now operating under new hours including Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
On Wednesday the library will be open from 1 p.m. until 8 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Each day, the library will be closed from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. for cleaning and sanitizing.
“The hours we’ve decided on, we’re planning to extend to the holidays. The hours likely won’t be changing unless something goes horribly wrong, or wonderfully right,” Burness said.