As part of the province’s stage one reopening plan, libraries across Ontario were given the green light to offer curbside pick-up and drop-off services for residents starting Tuesday, May 19. The Toronto Public Library will kick off its service at select locations on Monday, May 25. The drop boxes will be open to accept the return of library materials.
Starting June 1, all remaining Toronto Public Library locations will begin accepting returns in the drop boxes as well. There are an estimated one million library items currently out on loan in the city of Toronto. All late fines were suspended when the pandemic began and that suspension will remain in place until regular library service resumes.
“We are all excited about this first step in the reinstatement of our services, with the introduction of curbside drop-off and pick-up of materials. It’s been so heartwarming to see the public excitement about this news. We know how many Torontonians rely on their library to stay connected, informed and engaged,” said Vickery Bowles, one of the city’s librarians.
For residents eager to take out new materials, TPL says they can place holds online through the website at TPL.ca and items can be picked up curbside once that service is introduced in early June.
“With the delivery of this service, the health and safety of our staff and our customers is our top priority. That is why we are taking a phased approach to reinstating library service, with this priority in mind, and with every decision being made through this lens,” said Sue Graham-Nutter, chair of the TPL board.
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As the need for community food banks increased drastically during the pandemic, 11 TPL branches were transformed into pop-up food banks. As these locations now transition to offering curbside pick-up and drop-off services for library customers, the food bank operations will be transitioned to other community partners with no interruption of service. As the city makes these changes over the next couple of weeks, details about the new food bank pop-up locations will be announced.
Mayor Tory said the reinstating of some library services is one of many programs and services that Torontonians are eagerly awaiting.
“Safely and carefully re-opening our libraries to residents in this phased approach is another step in our journey to recovery and getting residents back to activities they engaged in prior to the pandemic. We look forward to reopening more programs and services in the coming weeks and months when our public health officials advise that it is safe to do so,” he said.