By Andrea Arnold

One of the things that people turn to during times of isolation and slow living is reading. So for McBide’s newly-appointed Library Director, Abi Ward, figuring out a way to get books into the hands of the Valley residents has been important. After a week of trial runs, Friday May 15, marked their first official book take-out day.

Library Director Abi Ward stands behind the take out table as Isa Gasser Casutt, and her children, Rave and Franky leave with their book having used the new “Take Out” service provided by the McBride and District Public Library./ANDREA ARNOLD

“People are free to borrow books, DVDs, CDs, puzzles, board games, the children’s story kits, etc.” said Ward. “No restrictions.”

Patrons can contact the library either by email or by phone and place their order. Library staff will pull the items and quarantine them for a minimum of 72 hours before pickup. Pick up appointments on Tuesdays and Fridays are booked in 15 minute intervals to help maintain social distancing. Library staff ask that when picking up your order, you wait until the staff member backs away after setting your books on the table they have just inside the door. There is also a bin for returns, however, at this time, fines have been suspended, and Ward wants to encourage people to keep their items for as long as they need. Anything that is returned goes through another 72 hour quarantine and is disinfected before being reshelved. The drop box remains closed outside of pickup hours, and staff ask that returns only happen during those hours.

“It is a lot more work getting items to patrons in this way,” said Ward. “But we are all very happy to be lending items again, and seeing people for collection! It’s been hard having the doors to this lovely building shut, and cataloguing new books we couldn’t lend. This service seems like a step in the right direction towards reopening.”

She said while they hope to be able to open their doors soon, this service will continue to run as long as patrons would like to use it.

North Vancouver was the first BC Library to set up such a service. Ward says it took some time to work through the logistical challenges of meeting current COVID-19 regulations and guidelines.

Patrons who want to use the service but are unwell, or self isolating, can call the library, 250-569-2411 or email to arrange a safe, no contact delivery.

At this point inter-library loans are not available, limiting the available selection to the current inventory.