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Didsbury library re-opening great news, says manager

The library will not yet be offering in-person programs
MVT Didsbury Municipal Library
Didsbury's library should be able to accommodate about 10 patrons at a time under the new rules. File photo

DIDSBURY - This week’s re-opening of the Didsbury Municipal Library is welcome news for patrons of all ages, including those making use of the facility’s computers, says manager Monique Fiedler.

The province announced March 1 that libraries can again accept in-person clients. Facilities will be restricted to 15 per cent of capacity.

The Didsbury facility should be able to accommodate about 10 patrons at a time under the new rules, she said.

The library has been closed to in-person access since Dec. 13. Curbside pick up, printing and assistance by phone or email have continued.

Having access to the facility’s eight internet-capable computers again will be important for many patrons, she said.

“We are really excited about the increased computer assess,” said Fiedler. “That was something a lot of libraries were advocating for. It was pretty dire that a lot of people didn’t have the public computer access that they needed because many people don’t have access to a computer or Wi-Fi from home.

“That was something we were learning about talking to other agencies in the area, that there are lots of resources available for people right now but if they don’t have a device or Wi-Fi, they can’t access those resources online.”

The library tried to fill the gap by loaning out some of its laptops during the closure, but "every day there have been people parked outside the library using the Wi-Fi," she said.

Despite the re-opening, the library will not yet be offering in-person programs, she said.

“We are going to keep all of our programming visual as of now,” she said.

Volunteers are still not yet allowed to return to work at the library. That will likely have to wait until Step 3 of the re-opening.

“Usually (volunteers) contribute more than 650 hours a year to our operational activities, so that has been a huge blow not having them here,” she said.

Library staff were busy last week preparing for public access, with lots of cleaning and other preparations, she said.

“We are working on signage and making sure to introduce all of our cleaning procedures that we had pre-closure to ensure that the facility is safe for our patrons,” she said. 

The library will be re-opening under pre-closure regular hours, including evenings on Wednesday and Thursday, she said.

Dan Singleton

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