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Service Updates & COVID-19

This page will be updated as any service changes for The Blue Mountains Public Library occur. We wish to confirm that BMPL staff are working closely with our local, regional and provincial governments and partners as we plan how to best provide a safe patron service plan to our community.

If you have not yet subscribed to our E-newsletter, we encourage you to do so. Any major changes to BMPL will be noted in an e-blast, should they occur.

Together we can keep our community safe. Please read the Updates below on Service Limitations and how we are working together to minimize the spread of the COVID-19 virus during this pandemic.

BMPL's Georgian College Co-Op student is assisting us by doing updates to our e-newsletter software.

  • Library News-our primary communication on services [all patrons are enrolled]
  • In the Gallery-monthly blog about arts and culture activities in gallery
  • Key Messages-the governance monthly update by the Board
  • Kids Zone-Children's program newsletter
  • Staff Picks-great reviews by staff on must reads

Over the month patrons and others who have registered for these e-subscriptions may receive an email thanking you for subscribing and asking you to verify the subscription by clicking on the link. This email, from Elisa Chandler, is from us, and not a phishing scam.

If you have questions you may contact Dr. Sabrina Saunders. As always, you may register, amend or unsubscibe at any time.

If you or someone you know requires a computer to apply for the many EI supports being offered by the government, we are here for you. Dr. Sabrina Saunders will be offering the LE Shore computers, by appointment to those who do not have access to computers by appointment. This is not an open invitation to computer access, nor is it for people who have alternate options such as a computer at home, a laptop/tablet that can use the Wi-Fi in the parking lot of LES or CHD safely. 

The CEO will ask screening questions at the time of booking any appointments, and does reserve the right to refuse any application which does not appear to be for the purposes of this emergent service offer. For an appointment, please contact Dr. Sabrina Saunders at 

The BMPL library and museum services have moved to a virtual model. Staff are providing story time, tech help, webinars, book clubs online using Facebook. In April our museum will begin providing sessions on fossils and the many items held in the collection. Each of us is working to do our part to end the spread of this virus, and while we would prefer to meet face to face with our community to provide these services, we are excited to try this new service model. Don't miss any of our avents and programs. Please check out our Event Calendar for new programs.

We've mentioned this several times in previous posts, but our Virtual Library is open 24/7. Please use this as a main link to find so much more than just electronic books. If you haven't investigated this site in the past, please do. We also have another page we have loaded for you, Things To Do At Home. This page has links for homework assistance, crafts, thousands of pre-recorded story times, links to children's games, and more.

The Book return at LES is available and checked regularly, while CHD bookdrop is closed. We apologize for this inconvenience, but this limits the amount of traveling our staff need to do daily. All materials have been extended and late fees have been dropped at this time. Also, if your library card is scheduled to expire between now and May 31st, we have extended your card. For those who do not have a card, you can now apply online and we will provide you with a temporary card to get your access to our Virtual Branch during COVID-19. It is important to us that no one goes without the educational and recreational services.

If you have recommendations, we would love to hear them. You may contact our staff or CEO by email any time.   

With today's closing of the province's non-essential businesses effective Tuesday night, we will be following this direction and shutting down our holds system and keeping staff at home as of Tuesday. Any holds which were received will be available for pick up on Tuesday between 11am-4pm and then these will be held until the province allows businesses to reopen using the physical distancing protocols.

If you have materials that you wish to be returned, these can be dropped off tonight and on Tuesday until 4pm. After that the book drop will be locked until non-essential businesses who can provide a physical distance of 2m or more between staff are allowed to reopen.

We will continue to provide electronic materials on our Virtual Branch and other activities for families to do at home.  

The Town of the Blue Mountains Council met today in Committee of the Whole to, amoung other business, hear a report by TBM staff on COVID-19 and services/facilities.

At this meeting all buildings have been closed, while services will be continuing online and virtually. Please view the TBM COVID-19 Information for Town specific information. The Blue Mountains Public Library buildings were included in this closure through April 17th.

How Can You Access BMPL Materials During Our Shutdown?

The BMPL Staff are working today and Tuesday to set up a temporary service model.

  1. Our Virtual Branch is always available online 24/7 for reading and entertainment materials. There are great resources that all community members should investigate.
  2. We also are establishing a new Things To Do At Home page which includes links to children’s games, activities, stories and programs online. These will also be promoted on our Instagram and FaceBook pages.
  3. Additionally, in light of the shutdown, we have enhanced our holds programs in order to provide materials to those who are interested:
  1. Place your hold online at [Your login is your library card, your pin is the last 4 digits of your phone number on file]
  2. While you may request more than 6 items (e.g. DVD, book, etc), we will limit the number of items we pull each day per person based on the size of space we have to make this service work. Request daily if this works better for you, but please do not stockpile, as we cannot house our entire collection outside.
  3. Just like our typical holds notification, we will contact you via email or phone when the item(s) you have requested are available. We will then place them on the new Holds Carts at the parking lot entrance. Different from our typical process, is that these items will be held for a maximum of 2 days on the cart only and be outside between 11am-4pm. On poor weather days, we will move these carts into the outer vestibule on the parking lot side. While we allow typical holds to be there longer, we just do not have the room to do this, so please ask if and only if you can get here to retrieve it. If you can not pick up on the day we offer the materials, please let us know and we will hold putting those materials outside.
  4. When you come to retrieve your book, it will already be checked out to you. Simply take it. ONLY TAKE BOOKS IN YOUR NAME! Read the label of first and last name as last names are often common. Please remember these books are not for browsing.
  5. It is important to keep the social distancing rule of a minimum of 6.5 feet, so please do not line up in a queue. Remain in your car. Wait if there are others. And of course, enjoy your materials. [Social Distancing definition increased from 5' to 6.5' by Health Canada]
  6. Any interlibrary loan materials which have been received via Canada Post will be on these carts, but no new materials can be ordered as libraries across the province have shut down.
  7. Please note this is a pilot program and one unique to our library. We are trying new services as long as it is practical, it is safe, and as long as there is no abuse of the protocols listed above, including the social distancing protocol.
  1. We also have a give-away cart. This is clearly marked. Any community member may grab and go from this cart. Please do not return these when you have read them. They were scheduled to go to our book sale anyways.

The BMPL staff will be working shifts on site to complete the phone and internet questions, as well as to provide the new service model. The building is closed and we will not respond to any inquiries face to face.

Again, please continue to watch the Service Updates & COVID-19 webpage for ongoing updates.

In light of the ongoing spread of COVID-19, it is more important than ever to act responsibly and work within the social distancing protocols Health Canada has recommended. We understand that while the BMPL staff have been diligently cleaning and sanitizing surfaces hourly and have cancelled group activities and programs, the staff cannot guarantee a social distance of 5 feet at this time. 

The Town of The Blue Mountains Council and the BMPL Board will each be meeting on this matter, and more information will be released when available. It is important to note that we have not set a lengthy date of closure. If decisions to open the facility during the week is made, we will work as a staff to reconfigure our service to best support social distancing in our public building. The closure on Sunday and Monday, will allow our staff to best react to this situation.

While it is a very difficult decision to balance public service needs against the public health needs; we believe this is the correct decision for our community at this time.

Our Virtual Branch is still open, as are book drops and wi-fi at both locations.

For Town information related to COVID-19, please visit:

In partnership with the Town of The Blue Mountains, all programs and events have been cancelled or postponed until at least Monday, March 23rd. TBM and the BMPL Board will be assessing the situation in the coming days. At this time, LE Shore remains open regular hours. The Craigleith Heritage Depot remains closed for renovations and remediation. Our Events Calendar is up to date.

Check out the TBM COVID-19 page for local information. If you are not already subscribing to the TBM e-blasts and the BMPL E-Newsletter, these are a major method for communication with our community. We encourage you to subscribe today! 

Library Patrons,

The World Health Organization has now defined the outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) as a pandemic. As a result, Canada, Ontario, Grey County and The Town of the Blue Mountains are each moving forward with plans to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and protect our community and staff. The Blue Mountains Public Library (BMPL) is doing our part by evaluating our services and types of programs we will be offering in March Break and in the next weeks.

Health service agencies advise the best practice is the regular washing of hands, avoiding touching the eyes, nose and mouth, congregating in large groups of people, and social distancing (5 feet between people). If you are sick we ask you not visit the library.

Importantly, we are working to balance public service with public safety. Each community will make plans that best meet the community and work to limit further spread. As such, we will continue to work with our government partners and amend our plans based on their advice. Updates will be posted to our website regularly.

While some activities and events have been cancelled or postponed, at present, there is no change to our hours or services, and most regular programs are continuing as planned. Our Event Calendar will be updated regularly and registrants will be notified by email of March Break changes. In order to keep our LE Shore (LES) open and mitigate spread of any virus, we have added some enhanced procedures:

  • Throughout the Library, you will find hand sanitizers. There are stations at each entrance, at both circulation desks, and at each of our seating area. Additionally, we have put up signage at each of these stations explaining how to properly use hand sanitizer. The best method of cleaning hands is, of course, 20-30 seconds of hand scrubbing with hot water and soap in the bathrooms.
  • Please return all materials through the book drops. One is located at the Craigleith Heritage Depot, one at each entrance of the LES building, and another inside LES at the circulation desk. 
  • We have added additional janitorial cleaning of high-touch areas, and added cleaning duties of our staff for high touch transfer areas (e.g. tabletops, door handles, chair arms, keyboards, mouse).
  • Some toys and games have been removed as it is impractical, at this time, to try to maintain cleaning protocols of these.

How do I participate in BMPL Services without entering the building:

  • Our Virtual Branch is a great place to find reading materials while you are home. We have online collections from the Craigleith Heritage Depot, e-newspapers and magazines, audio and e-books, movies, and music.
  • Call or email us and we will extend your material loans. You may also self-renew by logging onto our online system and renew your materials. If you receive a notice that an item cannot be renewed, please call during business hours and we will ensure no late fees are applied.

We will use the new Services Update and COVID-19  on our website to communicate service changes due to COVID-19 and our E-Newsletter to announce any major changes, should they occur. Again, if you are not subscribed, we encourage you to visit our webpage and subscribe to our e-newsletter.

Dr. Sabrina Saunders
Blue Mountains Public Library CEO
519-599-3681 ext 2

Authoritative Information about COVID-19

Information from Local, Provincial and National Agencies 

Talking to Children About COVID-19 (Coronavirus):

CDC Handwashing Videos

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