Is it safe to borrow library materials during the COVID-19 outbreak?

We are taking all precautions to ensure that materials on our shelves and those that are returned to us are safe to be handled by members of the public.

As of Friday, February 19, Waterloo Public Library will be moving to a 24 hour isolation period for returned library items. Neighbouring libraries including KPL, Idea Exchange, RWLibrary and Guelph Public Library will also be transitioning to a 24 hour isolation period.

For our customers, this change means a better library experience – you won’t have to wait as long for library items - while maintaining everyone’s health and safety.

Waterloo Public Library continues to evolve and adjust our plans as new information comes to light and public health measures change. The current direction from the Provincial Government has indicated that returned items should have a period of quarantine out of an abundance of caution. In an abundance of caution, libraries, including WPL, were choosing a long quarantine. However, knowledge about routes of transmission for COVID-19 has evolved greatly in the last year. Emphasis on transmission through surfaces has been greatly reduced as it is now considered unlikely that the virus will remain active on surfaces in real-world conditions.

Until we have further direction and information provided, we will not completely eliminate the quarantining of materials, but look forward to shortening the quarantine time which will keep library materials moving more efficiently for our customers.

If you are feeling unwell or if any member of your household is sick or in isolation, we ask that you refrain from borrowing library materials. This will help us all feel more comfortable and confident with the safety of our collections.

How are you ensuring the safety of customers and staff?

The health and safety of our staff and our customers is our top priority. Here are the measures we are taking:

  • Staff wear appropriate personal protective equipment including face masks or coverings
  • Physical distancing protocols in place
  • Returned materials are isolated for a minimum of 24 hours
  • Increased cleaning schedule including disinfecting of high touch surfaces
  • Staff training on safety measures
What are the library hours?

Beginning Tuesday, April 6th, library hours are:

Main Library - WPL To Go curbside pick-up & Computer/Wifi Use

Monday to Saturday: 10:00am to 6:00pm
Sunday: CLOSED

John M. Harper Branch - WPL To Go curbside pick-up

Monday to Saturday: 11:00am to 6:00pm
Sunday: CLOSED

McCormick Branch - WPL To Go curbside pick-up
Monday to Tuesday: CLOSED
Wednesday: 11:00am - 6:00pm
Thursday to Saturday: CLOSED
Sunday: CLOSED

How do I return items to the library?

ALL items must be returned through the external returns slots which are open 24/7 at all locations.

Hotspots, board games and borrowed program kits must be returned directly to staff during library hours.

To ensure that our collections are safe we will continue to isolate ALL returned items for at least 24 hours. As a result of placing returned items under 24-hour isolation, it could take 5 to 7 days for items to be removed from your library account. No fines will be incurred during this period.

Do I have to wear a mask when I come to the library?

In accordance with both the Province of Ontario Reopening Rules of Stage 3 and the Region of Waterloo's Face Covering By-law, masks that cover both the nose and mouth MUST be worn when at the library*.

*Unless exemptions apply.

Mask wearing regulations can be found at the links below:

- Reopening Ontario Act, 2020 Regulation 364/20

- The Regional Municipality of Waterloo Face Covering By-law No. 20-035 & Amendments

Can I bring in book donations?
At this time, we are not accepting book donations or any other items.
How long do we get to borrow items for?
Most items will have a loan period of 3-weeks. See the full listing of loan periods here.

While no overdue fines are currently being charged, we do ask that you return overdue library materials.

Holds pick up time will continue to be 7 days.
Will there be fines charged on my overdue items?
There are currently no overdue fines at WPL. This will continue into 2021.

View full details here.