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'In a bad situation, we have really ended up flourishing,' says library CEO

Barrie Public Library has had 600 new memberships since closing its doors due to COVID-19, says Lauren Jessop

COVID-19 caused the Barrie Public Library to close its doors on March 14.

And business has been booming ever since.

As the current health crisis continues to keep people following physical distancing measures and from avoiding large groups, many businesses and organizations have had to close for the time being. 

Both the downtown and Painswick library branches have done the same, but CEO Lauren Jessop says they are as steady as ever with people looking for ways to keep busy.

“You wouldn’t think it, but we’re very busy right now,” Jessop told BarrieToday. “We have had 600 new memberships since we closed and a lot of virtual programs that involve staff.

"In a bad situation, we have really ended up flourishing," she added. 

There are 70 different online resources available to library members that range from adult programs to teens and kids. Staff work from home and provide classes on sewing, technology, jewelry making, book clubs and kids' storytimes. 

Jessop said the working from home has not only kept staff busy, but has led to some funny moments.

“Sometimes a staff member’s cat walks in sight of the camera and kids get a good laugh,” she said. “The programs are keeping our staff busy and active. There was the concern of feeling isolated and we’re thankful the community got involved with the online library option. Not just for them, but also our staff, who are loving being involved.”

With many people using Zoom to connect with groups, every Saturday the library has the English Conversation Club on the communication platform. The program helps to practise English, meet new friends, and learn more about life and culture in Canada.

To apply for a BPL card, click the link here.

For program schedules and events, head to the BPL website.