Edmonton Public Library Update #4: COVID-19 Response

As you know, the Edmonton Public Library (EPL) has been closely monitoring the developments related to COVID-19. This is a constantly evolving situation and we continue to work collaboratively with the City of Edmonton and Alberta Health officials to ensure EPL practices align with new information as it is available.

Recently, Premier Jason Kenny announced the advancement of Stage Two as part of the Alberta Relaunch Strategy. The date has been moved up from Friday, June 19 to Friday, June 12.

While the announcement from the Province is extremely encouraging, all 21 EPL Branches remain temporarily closed. Reopening our branches is complex. The health and safety of our staff and customers is our top priority and we want to ensure we abide by the public health restrictions in place as we make services available to the public.

Although we are unable to provide a specific reopening date, we are committed to meeting customer needs as we are able. We have taken our first step towards a phased reopening with our Library Takeout holds pickup service. This service is currently operating at EPL’s Lois Hole and Whitemud Crossing Branch and will expand to our remaining locations shortly. Learn more about what we have planned.

We are thrilled to share some great news: EPL’s Board of Trustees passed a motion to discontinue late fees for library materials effective immediately. Late fees were originally designed as an incentive for customers to return their items, so we were able to lend them to others. However, the unfortunate and unintended consequence is that they disproportionately impact lower-income, marginalized and minority populations. While a late fee can be seen as a small inconvenience for those with the means to pay, for those with the greatest need it becomes the difference in whether or not they use the Library. We are thrilled to remove this barrier and eliminate these fees, particularly when many Edmontonians are facing economic challenges and need our resources more than ever.

We are incredibly proud of and excited about removing this barrier. If you have the means to pay it forward, we encourage you to do so. Celebrate this incredible milestone by making a donation to the Library at epl.ca/give. Together, we can transform communities and continually improve access for those who need it the most.

We know you miss us, and we miss you too. Thank you for your patience during this difficult time as we work together to ensure the well-being of all Edmontonians and mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Pilar Martinez
Chief Executive Officer
Edmonton Public Library

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