The Mary C. Moore Public Library was forced to close their doors on March 17 when the COVID-19 pandemic hit Alberta.
Initially, the library sent home their staff with pay for the month of March but since then, the Board and Head Librarian Christina Petrisor made the difficult choice to temporarily lay-off their staff with severance and the promise they will all return when restrictions are eased by public health officials and Province of Alberta.
“We held our Board Meeting and started hearing about layoffs across the Province. We needed to start thinking about extended budget scenarios,” she said.
Petrisor said they chose not do a curbside pick-up operation in March because the library didn’t have the protective equipment and cleaning supplies necessarily to operate a curbside pick-up that would safely protect clients and staff.
“We are in a totally different business model than any of the restaurants providing curbside. We are giving you something, but we need it back,” she said.
Despite the early difficult decision, Petrisor said she is inspired by the directive from the board to begin preparing the library for when they get the go-ahead to reopen some of their services. Until then, the library is working on improvements that can be done safely.
“One of the things we are doing is that we are doing a facility upgrade that was already planned. That includes $20,000 to enhance our shelving and a change to our computer area. That will be exciting,” she said.
Once the Province begins restrictions on the Library, Petrisor and the Board will go through the entire library to ensure the safety of clients and staff.
“We miss our clients and we miss giving them books, DVDs and we miss socially connecting with them. It has been hard. I can’t put into words how much our Childrens Programmer Ms. Mary misses her kid,” she said.
Despite the difficulty, Petrisor knows they made the right decision to help protect the community from COVID-19.
“I think the reason Lacombe has had such success with the curve is because we are listening to what they are telling us,” she said, adding she has been providing some delivery services in extenuating circumstances.
“I have been making deliveries to some clients with disabilities. If you are blind, I have made arrangements for contactless deliveries. I do an extensive cleaning before I drop any of those off. I have also dropped off CDs to the Lodge without going in,” she said.
Petrisor said that anyone who needs a library card, need information on e-books or has other questions can call the library at 403 782 3433.
“Leave your voice mail and I will follow up everyone who calls,” she said.
She added, “We look forward to serving each and every person when we can come back.”