Libraries remain open — and what you see may surprise you

·2 min read
Beth Clinton, regional public librarian, at the Confederation Centre Public Library. (Travis Kingdon/CBC - image credit)
Beth Clinton, regional public librarian, at the Confederation Centre Public Library. (Travis Kingdon/CBC - image credit)

P.E.I. has seen many closures and cancellations this week as new restrictions were put in place to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

But unlike restaurants, gyms and bingo halls, libraries have been allowed to stay open to the public.

And the public might be surprised to see that libraries are not just about books anymore. In fact, some of the most popular items are non-book related — such as learning kits, radon detectors, musical instruments and light therapy lamps, said Beth Clinton, a regional librarian with the P.E.I. Public Library service.

"Some are very surprised at the variety of things we have," she said in an interview with Mainstreet P.E.I. host Matt Rainnie.

Clinton said she was pleased to hear about the nurses who trudged to work through a storm last week wearing snowshoes borrowed from a library. She said snowshoes have been popular with all the snow of late, as have indoor physical activity items such as yoga mats and accompanying DVDs.

There are also musical instruments such as ukuleles, guitars and musical kits for small children.

"It's a great way to try out a musical instrument, or have your kids try them out and see if ukuleles are your thing," Clinton said.

Online services available

Masks are required, but a Vax Pass is not required to browse the aisles or internet, sit down and read books or newspapers or just take a look around.

And for anyone not comfortable with going in person, a variety of online services are also available — including e-books and audio books.

Clinton said it's all part of the evolution of libraries, which will become even more evident when the new library in Charlottetown is ready for visitors.

"It's wonderful. I mean, I love books, I do, but it's just great to see all of these things that folks can borrow that they may not have access to," she said.

"It's a great expansion of our services while still keeping our traditional core … We lend things, we lend things for recreational [purposes] and learning."

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