Amid COVID-19, Islanders begin flocking to P.E.I. libraries — online, of course

In the week since libraries closed their doors across the province in an effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, P.E.I.'s libraries have seen a spike in applications for library cards, as Islanders look to access reading materials online.

Thursday and Friday, librarians processed 75 applications for membership.

"People are definitely taking an interest in the e-resources that we have available," said Roseanne Gauthier, the youth services librarian with P.E.I.'s Public Library Service.

"And we anticipate that number will just continue to grow over the coming weeks."  

Gauthier said with a library card, Islanders can borrow e-books and e-audio books to keep themselves educated, entertained and distracted as they practice social distancing. 

The library's online offering reflects what is physically on P.E.I.'s library shelves, she said. 

How to get a library card

Gauthier said Islanders looking to get a library card can visit the province's website and type "library card" in the search bar. Once they arrive on the library card page, they will be directed to fill out an online form.  

I think it's absolutely essential right now. — Roseanne Gauthier

"If you fill out that application form now and you give us your email address, we'll send you a library card number within one to two business days," Gauthier explained.

She said people who have a library card but have misplaced it can check the status of their card by emailing the library or reaching out through the library's Facebook page. 

Gauthier also noted there are many online resources people can access without a library card, including animated e-books for children, math resources, audio and e-books targeted for teens and even romance novels for older readers.

She said libraries will be sharing activities on their social media pages to help keep Islanders educated and entertained as the COVID-19 pandemic evolves. 

"I think it's absolutely essential right now," Gauthier said.

COVID-19: What you need to know

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Common symptoms include:

  • Fever.
  • Cough.
  • Tiredness.

But more serious symptoms can develop, including difficulty breathing and pneumonia, which can lead to death.

What should I do if I feel sick?

Isolate yourself and call your local public health authority. Do not visit an emergency room or urgent care centre to get tested.

How can I protect myself?

  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

More detailed information on the outbreak is available on the federal government's website.

More COVID-19 stories from CBC P.E.I.