The Smithers Public Library (SPL) pictured on the afternoon of Jan. 16, 2020 during snowfall. The Library is encouraging anyone seeking relief from the cold to drop by this week and is serving hot beverages and treats for the entire week. (Trevor Hewitt photo)

Library closing its doors but still offering take out services

The Smithers Public Library is closing its doors to the public once again due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Earlier this year, the library offered services through Library Takeout, and director Wendy Wright said in an abundance of caution they returned to this model on December 22.

Public access to the building will be suspended, but people will still be able to order books, DVDs, CDs, magazines and Tech Kits through the online catalogue on their website, via email to contact@smitherslibrary.ca or by phone.

“We’ll gather the items you want, check them out and send you a message when they’re ready for pick up at our front door. You can even request items from other libraries through our website: just select “BC Interlibrary connect” in the drop-down menu if what you’re looking for isn’t in the Smithers collection,” explained Wright.

She said the decision to close their doors wasn’t taken lightly.

“We do have COVID -19 cases in Smithers including exposures in schools and preschools, and the number of local cases has been rising sharply over the past couple of weeks. Our library follows all of the mandated safety protocols, but it can be hard to maintain social distancing between patrons, especially with children,” she said.

Wright added they also have thousands of eBooks, eAudiobooks and eMagazines available to borrow through their website. You’ll need your library card barcode, password and an email address. Those who have forgotten their password or need to renew a membership can call the library at 250-847-3043.

The computer tutor is still available by phone and email twice a week to assist people with downloading digital materials or other technology questions. Send your question and phone number to tech@smitherslibrary.ca and he will respond Thursdays 2:30-4:30 p.m. or Saturdays 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Wright said the library has also boosted its 24/7 WiFi during the pandemic so it can be accessed from the patio or the parking lot near the building.

Teen meet-ups and Book Lovers’ Night Out have moved to Zoom with support from Wetzin’kwa Community Forest Corporation. Children’s programs have just wrapped up for the season but will continue via YouTube and Facebook in the New Year.

“The Library Board will reassess the situation at their January meeting,” said Wright. “We wish everyone a happy and healthy holiday.”