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COVID-19 Service Updates

Information for our valued patrons

July 7, 2020

On July 18, library patrons will once again be able to borrow physical library materials of their choice at the Juan de Fuca Branch in Colwood. Additionally, no later than July 24, limited in-person library services will resume at Saanich Centennial Branch and the Central Saanich Branch. These three branches are part of Phase 2 of the library’s plan to restore services; three more branches will follow in August. Details here.

Juan de Fuca Branch Hours and Services

Where: Juan de Fuca Branch, 1759 Island Hwy

When: Monday to Saturday

  • 11:00 am to 12:00 pm for those who self-identify as seniors or immuno-compromised
  • 12:00 to 4:00 pm for everyone

What: Limited library services as follows:

  • Pick up items on hold
  • Return items
  • Browse a small collection and borrow on the spot
  • Upgrade an online library card
  • Visit the Grab and Go table outside the branch to pick up a BC Summer Reading Club starter kit, Books for Babies bags and more.

The above services are available with the same hours of operation at the Central Branch. Here are the details and frequently asked questions about our limited reopening.

Previous COVID Service Updates

On June 30, patrons will once again be able to borrow physical library materials of their choice at two locations: Central Branch and Langford Heritage Branch. The Greater Victoria Public Library is gradually and safely restoring services that have not been available since the library system closed its 12 physical branches on March 16 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Here are the details and frequently asked questions about our limited reopening.

We welcome your comments and questions, and we will respond as soon as possible, Monday to Friday. Thank you for your patience during this time.

If you are reading this message, you are in good company. More than a hundred thousand people in our service area have a library card. They use it to borrow books, watch movies, learn a new skill or listen to a favourite song. Since March 16, when our branch system closed, our digital branch at gvpl.ca remained open. For some, the digital branch was a familiar place; for others, ebooks, e-audiobooks, streaming movies and digital magazines remain a new experience. Digital will remain an important part of our future. But we also know that content comes in many forms. And all formats will soon be available again.

As summer approaches, we can safely visit some of the familiar places we love. That includes the library. If you are considering a library visit this summer, please check this page for the most up-to-date service information available. Our phased plan to gradually, and safely, restore our holds pickup service begins in the month of June. The date will be announced here at gvpl.ca, two weeks in advance, so that patrons can plan ahead. You will find specific information about the safety measures in place and details about our holds-pick up service.

Libraries are strong and resilient, just like the communities we serve. The way we have delivered library services has changed over the years, and it will continue to do so. As we restore services, please know that how we fulfill our vision will not change the vision itself. GVPL: your place to connect, discover and imagine. On behalf of our library board, our municipal partners, our staff and our volunteers: we have missed you, and we look forward to seeing you again.

Our priority during the pandemic is to protect the health and safety of our staff and patrons. As we indicated earlier this month, holds pickup will be our first available service. We will introduce this service gradually and safely, following WorkSafe BC guidelines. Here is how we will do it:

Phase 1: Patrons will be able to place a hold on any item in the GVPL catalogue and pick it up at the Central Branch in Victoria. There will also be a limited collection of material that patrons can borrow on the spot. The Central Branch will be open Monday through Saturday, for four hours each day.

  • WHERE: Central Branch
  • Additional services available: sxʷeŋxʷəŋ təŋəxʷ James Bay, Langford Heritage and Emily Carr branches will accept the return of library material through their automated handling machines. The Library Vending Machine at the Langford Heritage Branch will be available, filled with a selection of movies, books, and video games.
  • WHEN: Phase 1 will be operating by the end of June.

Phase 2: In the next incremental phase of our reopening plans, six additional branches will be open for the return of library material, to pick up material on hold and to browse a small popular collection  of material that patrons can borrow on the spot. These locations will be open four hours each day, Monday to Saturday.

    • WHERE: sxʷeŋxʷəŋ təŋəxʷ James Bay, Saanich Centennial, Central Saanich, Juan de Fuca, Oak Bay and Bruce Hutchison branches
    • WHEN: July and August (three per month)

Phase 3: Assessment of the remaining branches in the system will take place during June and July to incorporate what we have learned in each phase.

    • WHERE: Goudy, Esquimalt, Nellie McClung, Langford Heritage and Emily Carr branches
    • WHEN: July and August

The start date of service at the Central Branch, and the additional services described in phase 1, will be released two weeks in advance.

Media Release

Library branches close to protect health and safety during COVID-19 pandemic

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Greater Victoria Public Library is closing to protect the health and safety of staff and the community. All 12 branches of the Greater Victoria Public Library will be closed until further notice as of 6:00 pm, March 16, 2020.

“In light of the recommendations of the BC Ministry of Health, Health Canada and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, we have decided to close the library to help protect the community during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Maureen Sawa, CEO.

All loan periods for items will be extended six weeks from Tuesday, March 17 to Tuesday, April 28. GVPL asks the public to not return library items through branch book drops during the library system closure.

Updates about library services will be shared on gvpl.ca and on Facebook and Twitter.

“Many library resources are available remotely through our virtual branch,” Sawa said, noting GVPL offers more than 25 platforms to read, watch, listen and learn online from home or anywhere with an Internet connection.

GVPL’s digital resources are available all day, every day, and are free with a library card. Residents can sign up for a GVPL library card online in two minutes and begin accessing digital resources immediately.

Digital resources always available

GVPL offers a wide variety of digital resources to download or stream, including ebooks, e-audiobooks, movies, music, newspapers and magazines. There are also learning platforms such as Lynda.com and Mango Languages with video and audio tutorials. These resources are free to use with a GVPL library card and pin number. Visit gvpl.ca/digital.

Get a library card at home (or anywhere with Internet access)

In two minutes or less, residents in our service area can start to borrow, watch, listen and learn. Sign up at gvpl.ca.

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Media Contacts
Jessica Woollard, Communications Officer, Greater Victoria Public Library
Mobile: 778-679-7228   Email: [email protected]

Media Advisory

Impacts on library service delivery in Greater Victoria, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic

Victoria, BC: To support efforts to limit and slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the Greater Victoria Public Library will be cancelling all scheduled library programs and events effective Tuesday, March 17. Visiting Library Services will also be cancelled until further notice.

“After careful consideration and recommendations from my leadership team, I have made the difficult decision to cancel all programs, outreach services and events at all library branches,” said Maureen Sawa, CEO. “We must do what we can to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 exposure to the community and staff. We are monitoring the situation closely and will provide regular updates as the situation evolves.”

The cancellation includes all March Break programming and events GVPL offers in partnership with external organizations. “We take this step with the understanding that hundreds of families had plans to attend our March Break programs, and our staff worked hard to plan exceptional and creative learning opportunities,” said Sawa. “We regret the disappointment our program partners will experience as a result of this news, but feel this precautionary step is necessary to protect the health and safety of our library patrons, staff and the broader community.”

The Friends of the Library have temporarily closed their Friendshop, located at the Central Branch, and cancelled their April book sale event.

Here are further updates regarding library service delivery. Please note that access to facilities and services are subject to change on short notice, given the evolving pandemic and advice of the provincial health officer.

Library service hours

All 12 locations of the Greater Victoria Public Library remain open at this time, with no change to service hours. Signs posted at the entrance of all library locations require visitors to determine if they, or a member of their household, are exhibiting or experiencing illness. If they are unwell, they should not enter the library and avoid public contact with other community members.

Cleaning protocols

Library facilities are cleaned frequently, and additional cleaning protocols are in place, focusing on washrooms and high-touch surfaces in public and staff areas. Ample supplies of hand soap and hand sanitizer are available for the public and staff to use, adjacent to posters advising everyone to wash hands repeatedly to avoid transfer of the virus.

In response to many questions we have received, we can confirm it is not possible to individually sanitize library materials. Please wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap when visiting any public space.

Digital resources always available

GVPL offers a wide variety of digital resources to download or stream, including e-books, e-audiobooks, movies, music, newspapers and magazines. There are also learning platforms such as Lynda.com and Mango Languages with video and audio tutorials. These resources are free to use with a GVPL library card and pin number. Visit gvpl.ca

Getting a library card while at home (or anywhere, with Internet access)

GVPL has offered an online application for library cards since 2017. In two minutes or less, residents in our service area can start to borrow, watch, listen and learn. Start here.

For daily updates, please visit gvpl.ca

Contact information:

Daphne Wood
Director, Library Services, Planning and Engagement
[email protected]
Cell 250 413 0370

The World Health Organization has declared a pandemic of COVID-19. In British Columbia, our chief medical officer and a dedicated team of health professionals are monitoring the situation and keeping citizens apprised of current risks of transmission, precautions and procedures to seek medical support.

It remains essential for everyone to avoid contact with others in the community if they are feeling unwell. Diligent hand washing remains the best proactive measure to avoid infection. At present, our library services and programs are operating as scheduled. GVPL operating procedures will adjust according to current conditions and the guidance we receive from provincial health authorities.

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2020-07-07T14:21:08+00:00

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“When in doubt, go to the library.” – Hermione Granger