Libraries connect their communities in a way that benefits everyone. They pool local resources and put them all under one welcoming roof for everyone to share. Libraries play an essential role in providing safe, accessible, and 100% free educational resource centres for every member in communities across the country. At a library, it doesn't matter how much money you make, because every resource there is free of charge, including books, internet access, and educational and professional training programs. Individuals and families, no matter their socioeconomic status, can count on their libraries to provide them with the resources they need to succeed and the answers to important questions they can't otherwise find. By extension libraries provide a crucial service for the most vulnerable segments of our population. Not only do they offer a safe and free refuge for those who need temporary shelter, but they offer support to those in need. Each morning when public libraries open their doors, they become supportive sanctuaries, along with learning and employment centres for many of Calgary's most vulnerable. The City of Calgary closed its doors on March 16th in a necessary step in the fight against COVID-19. Below is an update from Calgary Public Library CEO Mark Asberg.
Mark Asberg CEO Calgary Public Library
www.calgarylibrary.ca Dear Library Members, I wanted to update you with how Calgary Public Library continues to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and operate within current public health and safety guidelines. You can read about our response to the outbreak and access public health information here. Library locations remain closed and all programs, events, and room bookings have been cancelled until June 30, 2020. All due dates and holds have been automatically extended to this date as well, and no fines will accrue during our closure. If you have any Library materials, please hold on to them until our locations reopen. While we are not sure how long our locations will be closed, the Library remains in daily contact with our partners at the City and are taking steps to ensure that we can reopen quickly when it is safe to do so. Despite these challenges and unprecedented time for the Library, we continue to do what we can to serve the public as we eagerly await a return to normal service levels. I would like to take this opportunity to thank our incredible staff — the heart of our Library Family — for their continued support and patience during this uncertain time. The Library is working with the City of Calgary and other community partners to provide computer access to children and families in need to support urgent needs and continued school success. We are also quickly mobilizing new virtual and remote services to support our larger community during this time. Stay tuned for more updates and announcements in the coming days and weeks. Since closing on March 16, we’ve encouraged Calgarians to discover a wealth of free online resources and launched our Library at Home campaign to highlight online courses, streaming services, and original content like our popular Storytime at Home series. I hope that you will explore our Digital Library and encourage others to register online for their free Library membership. And please reach out to our staff for learning ideas, recommendations, and more. We can’t wait to reunite with our Library Family and to welcome you back into our spaces. If this time has shown me anything, it’s the enduring value and power of community, information, and accessibility, and that’s what libraries are all about. Take care and I look forward to seeing you at the Library. Mark Asberg