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Uptick in COVID cases shelves in-person browsing at Newmarket library

A new walk-in service finds staff browsing, retrieving materials for patrons
Newmarket Public Library. File photo/NewmarketToday

Browsing in person at the Newmarket Public Library has been shelved for now due to an uptick in COVID infections locally and across the province.

Instead, the library has launched a walk-in service where staff will browse for users and retrieve a limited number of books or other items while you wait. 

Library officials considered allowing more patrons into the facility to browse the shelves for themselves, but advice they received from public health prompted them to hold off on re-introducing that service.

“As we see the number of COVID infections ticking up across the province and in the GTA in particular, the advice we have received is telling us that we need to wait for a while before opening up to browsing,” CEO Todd Kyle said in an Aug. 28 message to users. “We want to make sure that we follow the best health advice and open up our services in the safest way possible.”

There are still some limitations in place at the library, Kyle noted.

You are asked to limit your time there, not to linger and read on the spot, and ask staff for just enough books to satisfy your immediate needs. 

If you look through items and choose not to borrow them, staff will ask you to place them in a designated spot for quarantine. If you don’t get everything you need, you are still welcome to place holds online or by phone, and staff will notify you when they are ready for pickup.

Library services now include the following:

  • Picking up and checking out of items on hold
  • Issuing and renewing library cards
  • Using public computer workstations or wi-fi for one hour only
  • Returning materials using the outside drop-off slots only
  • Walk-in retrieval of items to borrow

The following COVID restrictions remain in effect and all visitors are required to:

  • Wear a mask or a face covering
  • Sanitize their hands prior to entry
  • Verbally answer COVID screening questions
  • Follow physical distancing rules and maintain a distance of 6ft. / 2m. between themselves and others at all times
  • Cooperate with staff to maintain a strict maximum number of visitors and maximum visit time
  • Use of library space for extended study or for meetings and programs is not available.

The library will continue to charge no overdue fines, but users are encouraged to return items by the due date, as the library will still be charging for the replacement of lost items.

The library will continue to be open for limited hours, including Tuesday to Thursday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Newmarket Public Library is at 438 Park Ave. For more information, email [email protected], text 905-769-0433, or call 905-953-5110.