All 12 Greater Victoria Public Library branches are closing their doors indefinitely due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
So are all branches of the Vancouver Island Regional Library, which operates from Bella Coola all the way south to Sooke and Sidney.
Both systems are asking people not to return loaned items until branches have reopened. All loan periods are being extended by six weeks. Fines will not accumulate.
“Many library resources are available remotely through our virtual branch,” said Maureen Sawa, CEO of the Greater Victoria system. There are more than 25 platforms on which anyone with a library card can — for free — read, watch or listen online.
“Residents can sign up for a GVPL library card online in two minutes and begin accessing digital resources immediately,” said a statement from the GVPL.
Likewise, the Vancouver Island system said its eLibrary — which includes thousands of ebooks and audiobooks, plus downloadable music, streaming movies and TV — will remain available to anyone with a VIRL library card. All other programs are closed, though.
“In coming to this difficult decision, we paid particular attention to the province’s prohibition on gatherings of more than 50 people, and the strong appeal for everyone to stay home during this critical time,” said VIRL’s executive director, Rosemary Bonanno.