All 12 GVPL branches closed after tonight amidst COVID-19 fears. (Black Press Media file photo)

Greater Victoria libraries shut doors until further notice

All GVPL, VIRL branches close after tonight amidst COVID-19 fears

The Greater Victoria Public Library (GVPL) will be closing all 12 of its branches until further notice, beginning at 6 p.m Monday.

“In light of the recommendations of the BC Ministry of Health, Health Canada and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, we have decided to close the library to help protect the community during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said CEO Maureen Sawa in a statement.

READ MORE: B.C. bans gatherings of 50+ people to slow COVID-19 transmission

All loan periods for items will be extended for six weeks from March 17 until April 28. The GVPL is asking people not to return library items through branch book drops during the closure.

In the meantime, digital content, such as e-books, audio books, movies, music, newspaper and magazines will still be available and accessible to all with a library card. Residents can sign up for a library card online at gvpl.ca.

The Vancouver Island Regional Library also closes its branches as of 8 p.m. Monday.

“In coming to this difficult decision, we paid particular attention to the province’s prohibition on gatherings of more than 50 people, and the strong appeal for everyone to stay home during this critical time,” Executive Director, Rosemary Bonanno said in a statement. “In this rapidly changing environment, we believe this is the best decision for our staff, customers, and larger public.”

VIRL also extended due dates by six weeks and asks customers not to return any library materials until branches have reopened to the public.

Throughout the closure, VIRL’s eLibrary — which includes thousands of ebooks and audiobooks, scores of downloadable music, and hours of streaming movies of TV — will remain open for anyone with a VIRL library card.

vnc.editorial@blackpress.ca

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