Hamilton's Central Public Library Branch viewed from the Stelco Tower (Photo in public domain by Rick Cordeiro ) Credit: Rick Cordeiro

Hamilton’s Chief Librarian Paul Takala says the Hamilton Public Library “will accelerate our plans” for partial reopening of borrowing physical items this summer.
Takala’s comments come in response to today’s announcement by the Province that libraries will be allowed to operate pick-up or delivery services starting Tuesday.
The Province announced the lifting of a blanket ban on library borrowing as part of the “first stage” of the Provincial COVID reopening plan. Library facilities remain closed.
Asked if he expects HPL to open for pickup next week or the following week, Takala stated this “is unlikely”.
“I am sure we will be able in the summer, that is what we were anticipating”, Takala stated. He noted that the HPL’s plans are dependent upon what happens with the COVID pandemic.
HPL’s collection size is over 7-million materials, and is one of Ontario’s larger public library systems with 22 branches and 36 bookmobile stops serving an area of 1,138 km². (For comparison, Toronto is 630 km², Mississauga 292.4 km², London 420.6 km²)
The HPL pivoted online when the COVID state of emergency forced all branches to close and the bookmobiles to stop operating.
The HPL purchased additional online holdings, such as E-Books, and integrated its catelogue to include online materials from other libraries such as the Internet Archive.
Dozens of the libraries programs, such as Family Storytime, Book Clubs, and the Writer in Residence are now offered by video link. Central Branch concerts are online as well.
The Hamilton Public Library Board is schedule to meet by video conference on Wednesday evening.
The HPL’s Pandemic Plan is available online, it was created after the 2003 SARS outbreak.

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First published: May 14, 2020
Author: Joey Coleman
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