What we have heard tonight about COVID-19 and North Avenue

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Closed by the coronavirus emergency on Mar. 17, the North Branch of the library will not be opening anytime soon

The James L. McIntyre Centennial Library city centre has been open for curb service since the 25th of May.Four weeks since then, and about 14 weeks from the local library closed down due to coronavirus emergency, there is no word on when the North Branch library on North Avenue will be re-opened.

The city centre, an average of 54 holds on library materials have been picked up on the sidewalk every day of the week and 20 on Saturday.

“We don’t feel that we’ve reached the threshold yet where we would move on to the next part of our study of phase, which would open the North Branch, for the sidewalk service,” chief executive Matthew MacDonald said at a Monday night meeting of the library board.

“We’re busy, but we are not so busy that we feel North Branch also needs to be open,” MacDonald said.

Another question is whether to allow people inside the main branch downtown for access to books or computers.

Provincial rules now allow libraries to allow patrons, but they could not physically handle the books on the shelves, MacDonald said its board of directors.

“Basically, it is a closed-stack scenario, where people could come to the library, pick up their hold, but they would not be able to browse the shelves. ”

The people who need access to it services inside the region of Sault libraries will also have to wait a bit.

Ontario rules now allow that, but physical-distancing restrictions still apply.

“That presents some challenges for us,” MacDonald said.

“Now, we don’t allow people in the building. As soon as we do allow people in the building, we have to have people at our entries to ensure that the remediation is happening, that we disinfect hands at the entrance and pay attention to where they are going. The toilets should be regularly maintained. ”

Loitering in the library would pose a challenge, MacDonald said.

“When you look at our computer, it does not comply with the guidelines, according to physical-distance standards. Computers are much too close to each other. We have no alternative, other than the locking of certain computers and to limit the number of computers that are available. ”

“We envision a number of things. Have people have access to computers in the lobby of the hotel is not feasible, because we do not have the connections and the outlets down there. We are limited in terms of our space, where we can locate the computers and how many people can be. ”

“We don’t feel confident at this point that we can open our doors to the it services at this time,” MacDonald said.

“Now, it’s a lot of work to let very few people are using the computers. ”

The library’s reference staff will accept questions by telephone, with approximately 35 to 50 requests per day, most of the older people.

“Saturdays tend to be quieter, while Mondays seem to be the most loaded with 125 questions in a single day,” MacDonald said in a written report.

In other news, Rosanne Chan has taken over as Sault Ste. Marie Public Library business administrator.

Chan grew up helping her family run the Peacock Gardens restaurant on Queen Street, and has been, more recently, international tax manager at the Sault office of BDO.

Library officials plan to spend up to $250 000 to remove and reduce the asbestos to the library of the centre.

Asbestos exists in the ceiling and on pipes in many parts of the building, can be as floor tiles.

Particular attention is offered for the building of “four corners” – lower ceilings in the corners of the upper level of the public area.

Although generally considered safe if quiet, the ceilings are at the fingertips of most users of the library, and have sometimes been vandalized.

Officials hope to get the asbestos work done in the course of the COVID-19 closure of the building.

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