The Haliburton County Public Library board feels it is too soon to start curbside pickup despite the province allowing it.

The County library board met May 27 and opted to defer going ahead with a curbside pickup and delivery pilot at its Dysart et al branch. Instead, the board will review the situation at its June 10 meeting and consider beginning the program at the end of June.

The province allowed libraries to offer curbside pickup and delivery May 19 as part of first stage of its reopening plan. Library CEO Bessie Sullivan presented an option to begin the service locally June 11, but board members said that was too early.

“I don’t see the urgency of jumping into this without any kind of life jacket,” board member Cec Ryall said. “I’m not comfortable with this at all.”

Staff brought forward a plan to begin a no-touch, arm’s length system for book delivery, starting at the Dysart branch. Patrons would be able to place a hold on a book via website, phone, or email and pick up their order from a table outside the library. Orders would be scheduled in 30-minute blocks to start. Books would be quarantined for 72-hours after getting returned, which the library has been doing for returns throughout the pandemic. Individual staff members would decide if they are comfortable participating.

But Sullivan said there are some unknowns, such as the level of demand. Although some library systems have started the service, she added Haliburton is challenged given its seven branches, noting it is easier to implement at single-branch libraries.

“It’s a good document and you’ve done good work, I just think that we are all getting a little bit ahead of ourselves,” board member Liz Danielsen said. “There’s been so much good work on developing programs online that I think there’s enough in place to keep people happy.”

The board agreed to discuss the program and implementation at its next meeting. Danielsen said it would give the board more time to evaluate the progress of the pandemic.

“It just gives us a little bit more breathing room, a little bit more time to look into things and feel a bit safer.”

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