With the Okanagan Regional Library having entered its phase 3 plan for reopening, library branches in the Shuswap, including the Salmon Arm branch in the Mall at Piccadilly, are once again open to the public. (Jim Elliot-Salmon Arm Observer)

Shuswap libraries reopen with COVID-19 precautions, restrictions in place

Visitors asked to sanitize hands before browsing, encourages to wear a mask

Shuswap libraries have reopened to the public, but with new protocols in place to protect the health of users and staff.

The Okanagan Regional Library (ORL) announced at the beginning of July that its branches would begin the process of reopening throughout the month. Readers would once again be able to browse for materials to borrow, pickup materials on hold, use computers (with computer stations separated for physical distancing), and return materials that are then quarantined for 72 hours.

A limited number of people are allowed in libraries at one time, and people visiting their local library are asked to sanitize their hands before browsing. Library visitors are also encouraged to wear protective facial coverings, use self-check out stations where available and keep visits short.

Items such as magazines, newspapers and children’s toys have been temporarily removed from all ORL library branches.

The Salmon Arm branch in the Mall at Piccadilly is now open Monday to Thursday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., on Friday from noon to 8 p.m., and on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Two computer stations are available to use with a 30-minute time limit.

The library has two book return bins, one behind the library next to the Canadian Tire loading dock, and one inside the mall next by library entrance and open during mall hours (drops are locked during extended closures).

The Sicamous branch is open Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday from noon to 7 and Saturday from 10 to 5. Materials being returned can be dropped off in the outside book drop bin by the exit on Finlayson Street. This bin is always open.

Read more: COVID-19: Okanagan libraries to reopen for browsing

Read more: Shuswap Children’s Association and Library team up to offer story and a stroll

The South Shuswap branch in Sorrento is open from 10 am. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursday. Two computer stations are available to use.

The North Shuswap branch in Scotch Creek is open Tuesday from noon to 5 p.m. and Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Meeting rooms, spaces, study rooms, public seating and other gathering areas in libraries will remain closed to the public for the time being.

“We know the public is anxious to enter library space once again, browse their favourite materials and use our computers to access the web and other needed online services,” ORL CEO Don Nettleton told Black Press Media earlier this month.

“We ask that when the library opens for our Phase 3 browse and borrow service that visitors follow the outlined processes and rules so that everybody stays healthy and safe.”

With files by Caitlin Clow/Vernon Morning Star.

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