Open book surrounded with other books, library stacks in background

Stock photo

Library open for business, safety measures in place to protect patrons

By Patricia Leboeuf

Posted on Thursday October 15, 2020

The Petawawa Public Library has been back to regular hours since August, but staff have noticed a distinct lack of patrons even though they’ve taken numerous measures to ensure both clients and staff are safe.

There are sanitation stations throughout the building, books are quarantined before being returned to shelves, social distancing spots are marked, and masks are mandatory. Some of the furniture and toys have been removed, but there is still room for people to curl up with a good book.

They are hoping their efforts will assure the public enough that they return and use their services.

“It is important for the community to keep some sort of normalcy,” said Michelle Ibbotson, Community Outreach Technician.

“And with a lot of kids going to the virtual classrooms, parents are always trying to find outings for the kids because kids still need limited and safe social interactions with people,” said Elizabeth Pombiere, Children and Teens programmer.

Programs for children, teens and adults have been altered; take-home kits are available and contain everything needed for storytime and a craft at home.

However library programs are also being held on-site. Currently, there is a community colour-in puzzle, and the Point-Out Paige game, which is a touchless version of Where’s Waldo?. Upcoming projects include a giant hopscotch, a wacky art-show and a secret decoder kit. Public Library Week from Oct. 18 to 24, will also be filled with a myriad of activities.

And, for some added seasonal fun, the library is taking part in the Petawawa Ramble and Pumpkin Folk Festival now on from Oct. 15 to 18.

The pumpkin librarian, the newest addition to their staff, will have book recommendations for all ages. And when participants go into the stacks to search for that book, they will find a surprise.

Going out of their way to make the library a safe, welcoming place is of the utmost importance to staff.

“A lot of people are having a hard time dealing with the isolation and the restrictions that have been placed on us,” said Pombiere. “So the library is a safe place to come.”

More importantly, the staff at the library are urging patrons to return because they miss them. Many of them have become friends, and they all miss getting the chance to be part of their lives.

“It really is different for the staff,” said Pombiere. “Not seeing the kids, the seniors. We really miss seeing them. A lot of patrons come in for that human connection.”

Curbside pickup is still available for those wishing to take out material but prefer not to come into the library. Those who are housebound or under quarantine can have their materials shipped directly to their home.

All updates on the library can be found on their Facebook page.