Hamilton City Hall Credit: Joey Coleman / The Public Record

Hamilton’s Public Health Unit is requesting staff from the Hamilton Public Library to provide administrative and logistical support for expand vaccination as the city expects to receive thousands of doses on Thursday and Friday.

“We just received word today that the public health is looking for some additional people for a period of time”, says Chief Librarian Paul Takala. “What’s clear to me is the [HPL pandemic[ plan says that our highest priority needs to be supporting the public health response.”

The Hamilton Public Library implemented a pandemic plan following SARS in 2003.

“We have trained customer service people that would be able to fill in on fill those gaps that need to be filled”, Takala says.

The Library seconded many of its staff to contact tracing and other COVID response activities, many library staff remain working for Public Health at this time.

During the next phase of vaccinations, it is expect many older residents will book their appointments by phone.

The Library is already making regular calls to older residents across Hamilton to alleviate isolation and to ensure seniors are connecting to services they need.

Having the Library provide phone bookings for vaccinations is a natural fit.

Takala says the Library may decrease in-person branch hours to five days a week, Wednesday to Saturday, from 1pm to 6pm to increase the number of staff available to assist Public Health.

“I think right now we’re just in the midst of the kind of the dark winter of this pandemic”, Takala says. “We really need to make every effort as a community to make progress on vaccinations.”

He says vaccinations are key to eventually being able to resume many in-person library programs.

Takala expects the secondments of staff to Public Health will be temporary. “They are looking to hire people, but it takes some time.”

All Hamilton Public Library branches reopened earlier today. The present hours are Tuesday-Friday 10am-6pm, Saturday 10am-5pm.

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