The Windsor Public Library Board closed all library locations last month and joined with the City of Windsor to combat the spread of Covid-19. Subsequently, all non-essential library staff were directed to remain at home until April 6. The WPLB today decided to continue the suspension of operations but re-deploy employees to programs and initiatives which will assist the community in the long-term recovery process.
“The highest priority of Windsor Public Library is to mitigate the risk and impact Covid-19 has on the safety of our customers and staff and to help the community battle the virus while isolating at home. When Windsor assumes some type of normalcy, WPL will re-open and resume the amazing service our customers expect from us”, says Councillor Rino Bortolin, chair of the WPLB.
Windsor Public Library has a staff complement of 84 – with CUPE 2067.1 representing librarians, clerks, cataloguers, and building operations staff. 75 percent of library staff are working from home. Their focus is supporting school curricula, enhancing online services, creating on-line story times and assisting customers with resources and materials questions plus a small group will be making non-surgical masks to give to those members of the community in need. Essential staff will ensure the safety and security of all library locations. WPL staff will be creating online resources to assist parents and caregivers schooling their children at home, which will be tied to Ontario Ministry of Education guidelines.
WPL CEO Kitty Pope says, “WPL’s intention is to avoid staff layoffs, keep employees working productively and focus on being a positive force in the emergency response to COVID-19 and then the recovery. Depending on the duration and other changing circumstances WPL will work closely with CUPE Local 2067.1 to minimize the negative personal and organizational effects of COVID-19.”
During this temporary closure, WPL will be testing a number of new and innovative services designed to help the community survive the isolation and self-distancing prevalent today. These include issuing over 100 eLibrary Cards daily and home delivery of library resources to seniors and special needs customers. There will be regular telephone check-ins with seniors to offer library service, offer reading recommendations and answer any questions they may have. Staff will also be investigating how our 3-D printers can benefit the community, and FRED, the hugely popular WPL BookMobile, will make house calls! Simply call 519-990-1517 to set up an appointment.
Additional information on library services during the closure can be obtained through the customer service mailbox which is monitored regularly.