Young people who relied on the municipal library in their neighborhood to read, study or browse the Internet will have to wait. Even though Quebec now allows restricted access to workspaces, the network is still waiting for clear instructions before extending its services.
Will only pupils and students be able to use the libraries? Will they be able to circulate on the shelves? The ministerial decree, in force since Saturday, gives rise to many interpretations.
“The terms relating to the application of this measure are currently under discussion and will be the subject of further details later,” explained Robert Maranda, press relations manager at the Ministry of Health and Social Services. It is not possible at the moment to say when. ”
At the start of the day, The duty had been informed by the same Ministry that the entire population could benefit from all the services offered in public libraries, but Public Health then rectified the situation. Only the student clientele would be targeted by the decree.
On January 6, when he announced the curfew to tame the COVID-19 pandemic, François Legault unveiled flexibilities to support young people in their school efforts. “We will allow, while respecting distances, to go and study in municipal libraries,” said the Premier of Quebec. The goal, among other things, is to allow children who do not have high speed internet at home to have access to it. And in some cases to have a quiet place to study and read. ”
The population will have to wait
The Association of Public Libraries of Quebec (ABPQ), which feared a complete closure of establishments, was taken aback by the announcement of an expansion of services.
On Monday afternoon, she was able to provide more details than the government on future modalities.
Pupils and students will have access to computer stations as well as to seating areas, such as reading chairs and work tables, in order to study or take their courses online. However, it should be noted that access to the collections or to any other space will remain prohibited.
Extract from a press release from the Association of Public Libraries of Quebec
For now, the rest of the population will not be able to benefit from new services, said Marie-Rose Desautels, spokesperson for the ABPQ. This directive comes from the Ministry of Culture and Communications.
Only contactless loans and by appointment are – and will remain – permitted for all users.
At the Marc-Favreau library, in Rosemont, signs always blocked access to shelves and workstations when passing through The Press. ” We are waiting for instructions from the city-center, the young attendant told us. It may not open for two weeks. ”
Once clear rules have been set, it will be up to libraries and municipalities to decide whether or not to expand their services.