Local libraries remain open but cancel events

·2 min read

Libraries across the County of Grande Prairie and other enhanced-status areas of the province have been limited to 25 per cent capacity under provincial COVID restrictions since Friday.

The three-week measures have resulted in event cancellations, but local libraries are continuing regular services.

“There’s no social gatherings at this point,” said Sheryl Pelletier, Shannon Municipal Library director in Sexsmith.

“Socially-distanced rhymes,” an in-person family activity program, was cancelled a few weeks ago, Pelletier added.

With Shannon Municipal Library having a capacity of 40 people, the restrictions set a limit of six people plus three staff in the library at a time, she said.

She said in previous years the library has drawn in approximately 30 people at a time, as families gathered for movie nights.

The library has curbside pickup but patrons can also come into the library as long as they’re wearing masks, Pelletier said.

Meanwhile, Beaverlodge Public Library is largely unaffected by the new restrictions, but the annual artisan fair has been cancelled.

“We’ve had a mask policy in place, people sanitizing and entrance by doorbell,” said library manager Tracy Deets.

Before the restrictions, patrons largely preferred curbside pickups, so the 25-per cent capacity limit isn’t a problem, she said.

The limited capacity means the library could accommodate approximately 30 people, which the library rarely sees at a single time, Deets said.

Conversely, the artisan fair attracts an average of 250 people, she said.

The fair is a one-day event rather than a regular market and as such had to be cancelled this year, Deets said. The library planned to have the artisan fair this Saturday.

While the vendors won’t be at the library for a single event, Deets said the library is planning to have their goods on display and available for purchase over several days, up to Dec. 9.

As well, the library will still be open Saturday, but as a regular service day, she said.

The library also has a North Pole Postal Depot at the front desk where children who wrote to Santa can pick up their replies.

Elmworth Community Library is allowing only two individuals or one cohort in at a time to satisfy protocols, said Michelle Gillis, library co-ordinator.

“We continue to offer and encourage curbside pickup and private appointments,” Gillis said.

Hythe Public Library is open and can accommodate eight patrons at a time, with visitors asked to wear masks, according to the library.

Meanwhile, Wembley Public Library is generally closed to visitors and focusing on delivery and pick-ups, said library manager Anna Underwood.

Brad Quarin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Town & Country News