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Aurora Public Library resumes service with Curbside Pickup

May 28, 2020   ·   0 Comments

Has COVID-19 stood in the way of checking out the latest bestseller, the latest movie release or the hottest video game rental from the Aurora Public Library? If you hold a Library card, everything is now just a click – and a curb – away.

On Monday, the Aurora Public Library (APL) returned to a new kind of normal, launching a curbside pickup of movies, video games and more. The new service will allow members to place holds on items currently on APL’s shelves and, after providing the Library with your card number, have books, games, and other physical media popped by Library staff into your trunk to enjoy at home.

The new service is a significant expansion of the limited services APL has been offering the community since emergency orders shuttered their building at Yonge and Church – and, for members of the Library team, it is a welcome return to normalcy.

“This is something we were preparing for throughout the closure, knowing that it might be an eventuality with some stores like hardware stores offering curbside pickup,” says Ashely Nunn-Smith, Manager of Content, Access and Innovation for the APL. “When the government announced last Thursday that we could start it, we were really happy to put the wheels in motion. We have brought some staff back to implement the service, our frontline staff started last Tuesday to prepare.”

For the APL, seeing a flattening of the curve was the biggest hurdle in getting the curbside program in place.

“We wanted to see that happening before we put any of our staff or our customers at any more risk than we needed to,” she explains. “Now that the Government has said we can slowly start to re-open things, we’re in a good position and we have processes in place. Obviously, masks, gloves and quarantine for items [based on] how the virus can live on different services and all of those things are in place to make sure that our staff and our customers will be safe.”

In order to take full advantage of the curbside service, you first need to have a library card – either a physical card, or an electronic card, an option launched at the beginning of the pandemic. With your library card number in hand, you can log onto APL’s website at to browse the catalogue.

If something tickles your fancy, you can place a hold on a book, movie, or video game, and, if available, the item will be pulled for you by Library staff.

Once the item is secured, you will receive an email notification with pickup instructions.

Parking spots outside the Library will be numbered and the sign on your appointed parking spot will have instructions on how to text your unique check-in number to the Library and a staff member will come out with your holds and pop them into the trunk of your car.

“There is no physical contact between the staff and customers,” says Ms. Nunn-Smith. “Customers will stay in their car to make sure everyone is safe – and you just need to pop the trunk. Now that we’re at this starting-to-reopen stage, we can do these things knowing we’re not putting anyone in harm’s way.”

Inside the Library, staff have been glad to be back, maintaining social distance while they get everything back up and running.

“We want to serve our customers and while we are still serving by offering virtual programs and all of our digital services, we wanted to have a fuller service,” she says. “This is the first step in that direction as we gear up for an eventual return to normal. It’s not back to business as usual, but it is a step in the right direction.”

In the meantime, if you are looking for Library programming, Ms. Nunn-Smith encourages people to log onto their website or find them on Facebook to enjoy an array of virtual programming.

“We have done a series of Facebook Live escape rooms, writing contests, weekend writing prompts, virtual story times, read-alouds, book clubs and our staff are really putting a lot of work into translating what people might come to the physical library for into a virtual platform. I would just encourage people to go onto our website or social media and give some of them a try. They can see the smiling staff faces they’re used to seeing in person through the computer!”

By Brock Weir



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