(Greater Victoria Public Library)

As of 11 a.m. on June 30, Victoria residents can once again access a physical selection of books, movies, and video games at two branches of the Greater Victoria Public Library.

All 12 physical locations of public libraries were closed on March 16 to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Now, as the province enters its third phase of reopening the economy and social life, the Greater Victoria Public Library is partially opening its Central branch and the Langford Heritage Branch on the morning of June 30.

Starting today, patrons can pick up anything in the GVPL catalogue at Central branch after they have placed a hold on the item.

A limited collection of materials will also be available to borrow on the spot. The main library branch will be open Monday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. specifically for people who are elderly or immuno-compromised.

All others can attend between 12 p.m. and 4 p.m., and library materials can be returned through the exterior drop box from 9 a.m. Monday through to 5 p.m. Saturday.

At the Langford Heritage Branch, patrons can use the Library Vending Machine which will be filled with a selection of books, movies and video games, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday to Friday, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays.

All items can be returned to through the automated return machine at this branch during the same hours.

While other branches will not be open for patrons to borrow physical library materials, automated return machines at sxʷeŋxʷəŋ təŋəxʷ James Bay branch and the Emily Carr branch will now be available for people to return items from 9 a.m. Monday through to 5 p.m. Saturday.

According to the GVPL, the next phase of re-openings constitute three additional branches—Juan de Fuca, Saanich Centennial, and Central Saanich—that are planned to reopen to visitors in July.

Once they are open, patrons can pick up materials on hold, browse a small collection of popular items, and borrow a limited number of items on the spot.

These locations are expected to open five hours a day from Monday to Saturday.

The Oak Bay, sxʷeŋxʷəŋ təŋəxʷ James Bay and Bruce Hutchison branches are expected to offer similar services in August.

All remaining locations—Goudy, Esquimalt, Nellie McClung, Langford Heritage and Emily Carr—are now being assessed to see which services they can offer in keeping with public health guidelines.

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