Pandemic underlines Regina Public Library’s community connections and services
While many think of borrowing books first when they think of libraries, the central branch of the Regina Public Library has become an especially critical hub for downtown residents during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. , said the branch executive director.
Beyond book lending, the library also provides essential services, from printing documents to helping people get vaccinated, says Amber Christensen.
The technological services offered at the library have been in high demand over the past 18 months, she said.
This includes services such as printing job applications and government forms or using pay phones.
âRight now what we do a lot is help people set up their MySaskHealth accounts,â Christensen said in an interview with CBC Radio Morning edition.
âA lot of older people may not even have the email address you need to sign up for your eHealth account. So we walk people through this process.â
The library has also worked with the Saskatchewan Health Authority to help people get vaccinated against COVID-19, including hosting pop-up clinics at some branches.
People are also looking for practical help, such as advice on how to connect to resources and services.
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Back in the days when libraries had to close due to the pandemic, shelters and businesses were adapting their own services. Librarians therefore took it upon themselves to ensure that changing information was communicated to the public, according to Christensen.
âWe made a really good, large-scale community resource poster – because at that point we had to be closed, put it on our front window and a street-side phone was outside,â she declared.
âPeople could call and locate the services they needed. It was always updated based on what was going on in the city.
As for what it means for people who work in the library to be at the heart of those connections, Christensen said that people who work in libraries are helpers.
“[That’s] why I have chosen to pursue public libraries for the past 15+ years is that piece of community engagement, with people from all walks of life, âshe said.
Christensen said the work has been rewarding for the staff, especially when people go out of their way to drop things off like flowers and donuts.