The Sidney-North Saanich branch of the Vancouver Island Regional Library (VIRL) remains physically closed, but patrons can order take-out – to use a culinary term.
The branch is among 16 in the system that currently offers patrons the option of physically picking up items after ordering them online. Plans call for multiple other branches to offer the service in coming days, with some branches still undergoing assessment.
VIRL started to offer take-out service on June 1 at selected branches, with the Sidney/North Saanich branch starting on June 11. Under the system, staff will collect the items, then arrange a pick-up time and location. The system currently only allows patrons to pick up items from the branches where they are housed. Material and titles from other branches will eventually become available in the future.
According to Dave Carson, VIRL’s director of communications, patrons borrowed 232 items, while having returned 178 items since the start.
VIRL closed its doors on March 16 against the back-drop of the COVID-19 pandemic, then laid off most of its staff on March 18, with the expectation that numerous positions would be recalled as VIRL develops alternative services.
They have proven to be successful by all accounts as the pandemic-related closure saw the system make additional investments into digital content providers such as OverDrive (e-books), Kanopy (classic movies, independent movies and documentaries), RBDigital (books and magazines) and Acorn TV (British-themed television).
The number of new users has also increased.
VIRL describes itself as the fifth largest library system in British Columbia, serving over 430,000 people on Vancouver Island, Haida Gwaii and the Central Coast (Bella Coola) through 39 branch libraries, an eLibrary, and a books-by-mail service.
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