Good news! The Sunnyside branch of the Ottawa Public Library will reopen on Monday, November 16 for “contactless” returns and holds pick-up. This is earlier than the most recent anticipated opening date of January.
With contactless service, library clients can return their borrowed items and pick up items they have put on hold online. No appointment is needed, but it must be done during branch hours:
Monday and Wednesday: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Tuesday and Thursday: 1 – 8 p.m.
Friday and Saturday: 10 a.m.– 4 p.m.
Browsing the collection and using public computers will not be allowed, and public washroom will be off limits.
Residents of the Glebe and surrounding neighbourhoods can also use the main branch or the Alta Vista branch, which are open for in-person returns, pick-up of holds, browsing, readers’ advisory, information, reference services, card registration and use of computers by appointment. Masks are, of course, mandatory.
Many in the Glebe have missed Sunnyside, our cherished, if modest, local temple of books and other media, a mecca for children, youth and adults, a venue for community gatherings and a promoter of creativity, recreation and education.
An explanation for the long closure was offered in a mid-October letter from the library to Sunnyside customers:
“We know it has been a long seven months without your local branch. When we began reopening, we planned to continue throughout the summer in hopes that all branches would open by September.
“Unfortunately, the pandemic has placed pressure on our operations and our workforce. Our employees, like others, have been impacted by COVID. Some employees made the difficult decision to retire or resign, while others are temporarily unavailable for a variety of reasons. With the number of cases in our community increasing, we’re feeling the impact daily. We have fewer available employees; in fact, we have 120 fewer employees, and need 100 in order to open the remaining branches. Our biggest challenge has been the supervisory positions that we require for day-to-day operations. We depend on these roles to oversee operations that keep employees and customers healthy.
“In addition, we must follow provincial COVID-19 guidelines which add more pressure to the workforce. For example, we are required to quarantine all returned materials and that means that our process is manual and no longer automated.
“Because of these challenges, we had to make difficult choices about which branches to open and which to keep closed for a little while longer. Those decisions were based on several criteria such as accessibility, equity, safety and proximity to other nearby branch locations (geography). We know these criteria do not address everyone’s needs across the City
“We have heard from many of you, and we know you miss your local branch. Employees miss you, too. They miss seeing you and connecting with you. Some employees have been reassigned to other branches – such as Main and Alta Vista – and we encourage you to visit those locations if you are able.
“We want to thank you for your continued patience as we actively respond to the pandemic, and we look forward to resuming services in your community.”