Library set to open with strict social distancing measures. (File photo)

Burns Lake Public Library receives funding for restart

The library plans to open soon with stricter restrictions

The Burns Lake Public Library that has been partially operational throughout the Covid-19 crisis, has been recently awarded a funding of up to $2,000 from the Community Goodwill Fund by the Burns Lake Village council.

The public library closed its doors to people on March 18, in response to the social distancing guidelines. However, the library remained partially operational. “Upon hearing of the mandatory closing of various institutions, we immediately started brainstorming ways to remain open, even if on a limited basis and we came up with our Curbside Service program,” said Monika Willner, Library Director of the Burns Lake Public Library. The curbside service program has allowed people to call ahead and reserve the books they want and then at a predetermined time slot, pick up those books.

RELATED: Public library starts a curbside pickup program

This however meant that the library had to invest in sanitizing the books that came in and went out, at a reduced staff and increased monetary burden. The library has been keeping its book in quarantine for seven days once they are returned. “The information for how long the quarantine for books has to last is somewhat controversial. According to British Columbia’s Centre for Disease Control, the virus can survive on a (the) paper surface for up to 72 hours. However, DVD’s take(s) up to five days. To be on the safe side we would like to keep our seven day quarantine,” assured Willner. However, all these measures as well as the additional measures that Willner and the staff will have to take once the library building would open for public, would require a significant amount of money.

The Covid-19 crisis has affected a lot of businesses and organizations, especially due to the additional measures that have been expected of them. In an email to Lakes District News, Chief Administrative Officer Sheryl Worthing informed of the Village of Burns Lake council meeting on May 19, where it was noted that the library is an integral part of the social fabric and reopening it, would be to the benefit of everyone. The council also recognized the financial burden it would put on the library in case they are to open its doors to people. A motion was passed to reimburse the library for installing sneeze guards at the front desk and between the public computer stations at the library. This reimbursement will come from the Community Goodwill Fund that has a balance of $6,000.

“Thanks to our Burns Lake Village council, the library will be receiving additional funding to install the guards. This will speed up the re-opening process,” said Willner, adding that since the library had lost a significant amount of their self-generated revenue, “any and all forms of support from our local government is greatly appreciated and we are very grateful that our library’s need was recognized so quickly.”

There is no set date yet for the library’s reopening. Willner said that the library recognized the community is looking forward to them reopening, however they want to ensure that all the necessary procedures are in place to keep everyone safe and healthy. “I don’t believe we can say things will be back to normal soon. Perhaps the new motto will be: There will not be business as normal, it will be business as possible,” said Willner.

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