Frequently Asked Questions About Reopening

Which branches are open?
Six branches city-wide provide limited library services: Aldershot, Alton, Brant Hills, Central, New Appleby, and Tansley Woods.

What services are available at the library?

  • Aldershot, Alton, Brant Hills, New Appleby, Tansley Woods (on Sep 22): holds pick-up, computers by appointment, browse & borrow.
  • Central and Tansley Woods: holds pick-up, computers by appointment See Library Notices under Related links for updates.

Are the workstation desks and quiet room open to the public?
During this stage of our phased reopening, we have walk-in access at a few branches and an expectation that customers will use the library within an hour time frame due to occupancy limitations. Unfortunately, we do not have designated work/study spaces available for lengthier stays at this time.

Why isn’t Central open for browsing yet? It should be easier to maintain physical distance at the largest branch.
It may seem counterintuitive to open smaller locations first; however, Central is large with multiple levels and so more complex to reopen and maintain with regard to new health & safety protocols. Ensuring proper physical distancing is only one factor among many considerations.

We aim to serve the broadest community in the safest way possible to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. To do this, we temporarily removed items and furnishings from other locations so that we have adequate space for proper physical distancing, cleaning and materials handling procedures, and collections management at branches around the city. Central's second floor is our overflow storage location. Prior to closure in March, we had started renovating Central's third floor—our new makerspace area—so displaced collections from the third floor are also now housed on the second floor. The second and third floors are in a continuous state of transition right now.

We are currently assessing how we might partially reopen Central for limited browsing at some point later this year, though most customers we are hearing from find that the current holds pick-up procedure is working well for them. Customers who want to browse & borrow are visiting our Aldershot and New Appleby locations.

‘Safety first’ is the top priority and foremost principle guiding Library operations. As we gradually reintroduce library services and programs, you can be confident that we will do so responsibly at the earliest date we can.

I returned an item a few days ago. Why is it still showing on my account?
All returned items are in quarantine for 72-hours before check-in. We are currently processing a backlog of returned items. Check-in and shelving takes longer than usual as we work under new health & safety protocols.

Please allow at least 7-10 weekdays to process your returns before contacting us. We will reply to individual inquiries only after this period, if a returned item remains on your account. Remember: There are no fines charged for overdue items.

Why did I receive an overdue notice for an item I already returned?
We apologize for any confusion due to a courtesy or overdue notice you may have received after returning and item. Due to system constraints, automated notifications continue to send as usual. As noted above, please allow at least 7-10 weekdays (excluding holidays) to process returned items before contacting us.

How many days do I have to get my ready holds?
You will have 8 open days to retrieve your holds once you've been notified by email or phone.

I have an eCard number. Is this okay to use when I come to pick up my hold items?
Yes. Please have your 14-digit library card number handy when you come to collect and check-out physical items.

How can I borrow hard books and DVDs now?
There are two ways to borrow print books and DVDs right now:

  1. Place a hold: Browse our online catalogue and ‘place a hold’ on the item you want to borrow. You will be added to the wait list. When an item becomes available to borrow, we’ll contact you by email or phone, and tell you that it’s ready to pick up. If you need help placing a hold, please call or contact us online.
  2. Visit a branch that is open for limited walk-in library services. As a courtesy to others who may be waiting, please limit your library visit to an hour or less.

When are items due?
All physical items on loan to you when we closed in March, including interlibrary loans, were due back on September 8. No overdue fines will be charged for the rest of 2020.

The regular loan period applies to all physical items borrowed after reopening. We understand if you don’t want to come into a public space—or can't get to the library at this time. But if you can, and you are finished with an item, please keep in mind that someone else may be waiting for it.

Will the books/DVDs be sanitized before I borrow them?
Unfortunately, we can't promise a 'sanitized' or 'disinfected' library experience at any time, not just during this pandemic. Libraries are high-touch environments and print books do not like liquid cleaning agents.

The health and disease experts we are monitoring agree that the best solution for libraries is to quarantine items when they are returned to us, and to have cleaning and materials handling protocols in place for staff. Health officials recommend a 24-hour quarantine, but we are opting for a more conservative 72-hour period at this time.

Do I have to wear a face mask when I come to the library?
All members of the public must wear a face mask while inside the library as set out in City of Burlington’s Mask By-law. On arrival, unmasked visitors will be provided with a free disposable mask to wear. Until then, customers are encouraged to wear a face mask for their own safety when physical distancing in public is challenging to maintain.

Halton Region Public Health Commissioner and Medical Officer, Dr. Hamidah Meghani continues to promote that the most effective interventions for reducing the spread of COVID-19 are physical distancing, hand and respiratory hygiene, and staying home when ill.

Can I bring my child to the library when you reopen?
Coming to the library is quite a different experience than your child might expect. Please be mindful of physical distancing and remember that all books that are handled and discaded need to be quarantined before reshelving, which prevents others from borrowing the books. We ask that you please 'touch & take' books to enjoy together at home instead.

When will library programs start again?
Unfortunately, it’s too soon to venture a guess. Much depends on the status of the COVID-19 outbreak and municipal and provincial directions. On our website, we will continue to offer What’s Live Online information, Burlington Reads @Home—and an online version of our summer reading program for all ages.

I want to borrow a magazine but I can’t place a hold. What do I do?
Print magazines are not available to borrow during this reopening phase. You can borrow online magazines anytime through RB Digital.

Can I send a document to print and pick up the pages?
Send-in/walk-in printing and faxing are not available during this reopening phase; however, you can reserve a public computer in advance at an open location to have access to printing. See Related Links below.

Can I use the library WiFi?
Yes, the public WiFi is on and accessible outside the buildings. Just a reminder: the library WiFi is a public network and is never secured. Users accept the risks whenever they use BPL’s WiFi to access the Internet. If you choose to access the WiFi, please respect municipal and provincial physical distancing orders at all time.

I can’t pause some of my holds that I don’t want right now. What do I do?
If you are first in line to get the next available copy or if the hold item is 'in transit'—you cannot pause the hold. We suggest that you first add the title to your For Later Shelf, and then cancel your hold. You can place a hold later when you are ready to borrow the item.

I want to borrow books but my library card is blocked. What do I do?
Before you come to the library, please pay your outstanding balance through your My BPL account, or contact us at 905.639.3611 for help.

I think my library card is expired. What do I do?
Please give us a call during open hours or contact us online.

Will the library be open as a cooling station during declared heat warnings?
Unfortunately, Central and Tansley Woods will not serve as cooling stations during this reopening phase.

I have questions about reopening. Who do I contact?
You can call us during our open hours or contact us online. No phone or email service on holidays.

Library Notices

Reserve a library computer

City of Burlington Mask By-law 62-2020

How to Pause a Hold step-by-step

Read a magazine online

Contact Us