The pandemic helped us improve our services

6 feet apart

My name is Joyce and I am a Library Technician on the Marketing and Communications Team. 2020 was a challenging year for the Library. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we closed our doors in March and waited on an uncertain future.

During the closure, the Marketing Team continued working hard behind-the-scenes to stay connected with customers. We put up notices on social media and the Library website to ensure everyone would be up-to-date with the status of the closure, what to do with borrowed items and how to contact us.

While our physical doors were temporarily closed, our ‘Ask the Library’ service continued without interruption. During this time, we answered hundreds of questions including inquiries about how to get a library card (yes, people could still register for a membership) and how to access the Library’s digital services like eBooks, audiobooks, eLearning courses and streaming movies.

With our Library Board, Managers and Directors jumping into action immediately, a reopening plan was soon implemented at both City Centre and Poirier branches, and by April, we opened our doors for curbside pickup service.

We knew that many customers were eager to select a fresh batch of reads and movies, so we setup an easy and physically distanced procedure for that to happen. By mid-May, the popularity of curbside pickup resulted in us adding the service to the Library Link, our library on wheels that visits several different stops in the community.

Grab bags are another brand-new service we introduced during the pandemic. They are bags filled with 5 to 6 staff-selected books and movies on a specific theme. We have grab bags for all age groups and themes such as cozy mysteries, teen graphic novels, food lovers, dystopian and more. Customers simply place a hold and pickup at their preferred branch.

In May, we set up additional procedures that aligned with the province’s COVID-19 safety guidelines. With physically distanced shelving, self-checkout kiosks and computer stations, safety dividers at the Help Desk and greeters to help direct people, we were one of the first public libraries to reopen with limited capacities and modified services.

The pandemic helped us improve by forcing us to pivot our service model when the unexpected struck. For example, with all in-person events cancelled, we learned to host virtual programs and online story times. With social isolation rampant, especially among seniors in the community, we launched a check-in program where we phoned seniors. Last, but not least, the Library also went fines-free at the start of the pandemic and will remain so until Dec. 31, 2021.

For questions about the Library and our services, or to share your comments, email us at or message us on social media. Our handle on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter is @CoqLibrary. 
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