Fernie Heritage Library Reopening Plan

Entering Phase 2 of Vaccinations

Vaccine call centres for seniors are open. You can book a vaccine appointment for yourself or your spouse. You can also have a family member or friend call for you, if you need any assistance the library staff are more than happy to help you book. It’s easy and safe to book over the phone. To find out more information, check out these websites:


Please help us to keep everyone safe by wearing a mask during your visit to the Library

In compliance with the Provincial Health Order issued on November 19, 2020, all visitors entering the Library must wear a mask at all times during their visit.

If you are unable to wear a mask and therefore cannot enter the facility, the Library is still here for you. We offer the following curbside service:

Library Curbside – Place your order online, call 250-423-4458, or email information@fernieheritagelibrary.com and we will collect your items and have them ready to pick up curbside.

Free Wi-Fi in the garden – The Library strengthened its free wi-fi so you can connect with your mobile device or laptop from the safety of the garden.

Printing, scanning, and faxing – Available curbside. Call or email and we can help you out.

Digital Resources – Borrow e-books and digital audiobooks, browse digital copies of magazines, and access a wide array of subscription-based resources for free with your library card via our website.


Update for January 26, 2021, Due to Covid-19 precautions, please read the following

We have learned that a staff member is a close contact of someone who has tested positive for Covid-19.  The staff member has no symptoms, but has been advised they must self-isolate for 14 days.

What does this mean for us at the library?  We have consulted with Worksafe BC and Interior Health, and been advised that at this time, no one else in the library needs to self isolate.  We have however decided to make a few changes for the short term to best ensure the safety and welfare of our staff, patrons, and the community.    

The library will continue to be here to meet community needs, but we will move to a curbside model for at least the next two weeks.  We will also halt our volunteer program at this time.  Library materials can be accessed curbside or virtually.  Printing, faxing, and scanning will also be available curbside.  There is free wifi in the garden and we can make arrangements to provide technology to our patrons. 

We know that Covid-19 is in our community and we encourage everyone to continue to take all necessary precautions.  Remember to stay home if you are sick, wash your hands frequently, practice physical distancing, and wear a clean well-fitting mask. At the library we will continue to take all of the necessary precautions to ensure that staff and patrons remain safe and well.  We appreciate your support as we all work together to get through this challenging time. 

You can reach us between 10 am – 5 pm Tuesday – Friday and noon – 4 pm on Saturdays.  

250-423-4458  /  information@fernieheritagelibrary.com

We also respond to messages on our Facebook and Instagram accounts. 


Fernie Heritage Library Covid-19 Plan, updated November 20, 2020

Our goal is to provide the very best library services we can in a safe and welcoming environment with enhanced precautions to address the impacts of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.  Our first priority is the safety of patrons and staff.  On these pages you will find information on what steps we are taking to reduce Covid-19 risks, as well as what to expect when visiting the library.

As part of our ongoing commitment to the health and safety of our team and patrons, we now require all patrons and visitors to wear a mask when they visit the library.



In compliance with WorkSafe BC requirements, this COVID-19 safety plan outlines the policies, guidelines and procedures that have been put in place to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission so that the Fernie Heritage Library can return to safe operation.


All employees must comply with the guidelines and protocols set out in this plan.


COVID-19 – The novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 first identified in late 2019 that causes a respiratory infection.  It was declared a pandemic on 11 March 2020 by the World Health Organization.

Coming to Work

  1. Each team member (staff or volunteer) must complete a mandatory daily health check before entering the workplace. After completing the daily health check, they must text the library director. Seehelp-prevent-spread-covid-19-entry-check-workers-pdf-en.pdf
  2. You must not come to work if:
    1. You display symptoms related to COVID-19. In this case, you must self-isolate for a minimum of 10 days from the onset of symptoms, or until your symptoms are completely resolved.  Common symptoms are fever, dry cough, sneezing, and a sore throat.
    2. You have returned from traveling to an international destination. In this situation, you must self-isolate for 14 days.
  • You live in the same household as a person who is self-isolating because they either have a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis, or are manifesting symptoms related to COVID-19.
  1. You should consult with your health care provider or HealthLink BC (8-1-1) to determine if it is safe for you to come to work if:
    1. You have been exposed to anyone confirmed to have COVID-19, or who displays possible symptoms of COVID-19.
    2. You are part of a vulnerable population that is at increased risk of more severe outcomes: 65 or older, compromised immune system, underlying medical conditions.
  • You live in the same household as a person who is part of a vulnerable population.
  1. If you feel unsafe coming to work but do not fit the descriptions in paragraphs 1 or 2, and your work duties have not been suspended, you can choose to not come to work by:
    1. Taking paid leave by using your available sick leave bank or vacation leave, or
    2. Taking unpaid leave.
  2. If you become sick while at work:
    1. Inform the library director, or most senior person present, and
    2. Leave the library.
  • If you cannot leave immediately:
    • Put on a mask,
    • Wash your hands, and
    • Isolate yourself until you are able leave.
  1. Shifts or hours of work may be modified or reduced to support physical distancing measures, to reduce the risk of transmission, and to accommodate modified workloads.
  2. If regular work duties have been suspended due to the COVID-19 provincial state of emergency, staff can request that a record of employment be issued so they can apply for federal and/or provincial relief benefits.

Managing Risk of Transmission

  1. Mode of Transmission

The virus that causes COVID-19 spreads from an infected person to others through respiratory droplets and aerosols created when an infected person coughs, sneezes, sings, shouts, or talks. The droplets vary in size from large droplets that fall to the ground rapidly (within seconds or minutes) near the infected person, to smaller droplets, sometimes called aerosols, which linger in the air under some circumstances.

The relative infectiousness of droplets of different sizes is not clear. Infectious droplets or aerosols may come into direct contact with the mucous membranes of another person’s nose, mouth or eyes, or they may be inhaled into their nose, mouth, airways and lungs. The virus may also spread when a person touches another person (i.e., a handshake) or a surface or an object (also referred to as a fomite) that has the virus on it, and then touches their mouth, nose or eyes with unwashed hands.

  1. Reducing Risk of Transmission

You can reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 in any situation you encounter in the workplace by following the general guidelines recommended by WorkSafe BC, the BC Centre for Disease Control, and Health Canada:

  1. Wash hands often, or sanitize them with an isopropyl alcohol-based sanitizer;
  2. Sneeze or cough into your elbow;
  • Avoid touching your face;
  1. Practice social distancing of at least 2 metres between individuals.
  2. Wear a mask when you are in the library, unless you are in an office space by yourself.
  1. Levels of Protection

The library will put in place protocols that offer the highest level of protection possible for different situations.

  1. Elimination – Policies and procedures to keep people at a safe physical distance from one another.
  2. Engineering Controls – Installation of barriers to separate people in situations where one cannot maintain physical distancing.
  • Administrative Controls – Rules and guidelines for workplace operations and the delivery of different types of service for employees to follow to reduce the risk of transmission.
  1. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) – The use of non-medical masks and gloves if the first three levels of protection cannot adequately control the risk.

Cleaning & Disinfection

  1. Definitions
    1. Cleaning – The physical removal of visible soiling through the use a cleaning cloth, and water and detergent. This removes, rather than kills, viruses and bacteria.
    2. Disinfection – The killing of viruses and bacteria by applying a chemical disinfectant to an object.
  2. General cleaning and disinfection of highly touched surfaces is done by the cleaners on a regular basis.
  3. Enhanced cleaning and disinfection of highly touched surfaces such as door knobs, cupboard/drawer handles, book carts, telephones, and computer keyboards and mice should be done at least twice a day, and when visibly soiled, in addition to the general cleaning.
  4. There are three types of disinfectants used at the library:
    1. 1:100 Bleach Solution (5 ml (1 teaspoon) bleach to 495 ml (2 cups) water) – used to disinfect collections material, counters, handles and furniture.
    2. 70% + Isopropyl Alcohol – used to disinfect electronics and screens, and hands between washings.
  • Disinfectant Wipes (such as Lysol or Clorox) – can be used as an alternative method to wipe down surfaces and electronics.
  1. Staff need to refer to the safety data sheets for the chemical disinfectants before they first use them.
  2. Staff should use rubber or latex gloves when using a bleach solution.
  3. Under no circumstances shall anyone mix chemical disinfectants, either in a container or on a surface. Dangerous fumes or chemical reactions may result.

Specific Safety Protocols

  1. The COVID-19 Safety Protocols document identifies potential risks and sets out mitigation strategies for specific spaces, activities, services and programs including:
    1. Areas within Library – Entrance and Circulation Desk, Washrooms, Teen section, Information Desk, Maker Space, Reading chairs, Fiction, Non-fiction, Reference Room, Children’s library, Teen Programming space, Audio-visual section
    2. Member& Circulation Services – greeting, new memberships, account management, check-out, Curbside (holds), interlibrary loans, office services
  • Returns – check-in, repairs, shelving, shelf-reading
  1. Information Services – reference questions, readers’ advisory, computer/technology assistance, digital collections assistance
  2. Programs & Outreach – programming for all ages, marketing, community events, managing the library’s website, catalogue and social media platforms, supervision of study areas
  3. Technical Services – acquisitions, cataloguing, processing, collection management
  • Administrative Services – office administration, bookkeeping, IT network

Public Access to Library

  1. The library will take a phase approach to restore services and public access to its physical location in alignment with the provincial restart plan, and in consultation with provincial and regional health authorities, and local governments.
  2. Restrictions to limit access to the library’s spaces and services will be implemented to manage risk and will change over time. The timing of the restoration of service levels, and easing of restrictions, will vary depending on the nature of the service.
  3. Hours that the physical location of the library is open to the public will be limited so staff can focus on assisting patrons and implementing risk mitigation strategies during these hours. Over time, the hours of operation will be extended in a phased approach.
  4. A minimum of 3 staff members will be in the facility at all times when the library is open to the public.
  5. The amount of available seating and public computers will be reduced to promote physical distancing – currently public seating is only available at public computer workstations and OPAC computer station).
  6. The library will use best practices from other sectors, such as grocery stores, to manage public access to its collections.


  1. Occupancy limits will be posted at the entrance to the library and in certain areas, such as the Maker Space and Reference Room.
  2. Details about access to library services will be posted on the library’s website and social media feeds, and will be sent to local media and local governments.
  3. Staff will greet visitors when they enter the library, direct them to use hand sanitizer on their hands before proceeding, and ask if they need any assistance.

Training and Monitoring

  1. Staff will develop protocols, practice scenarios where those protocols are put to use to gain direct experience, and then refine the protocols based on that experience.
  2. Daily briefings will occur for at least one week after the move to a new phase of the restoration plan so that staff can address any issues that arise. After the first week, briefings will take place as needed (usually daily) to ensure all staff are aware of, and follow, all policies and protocols.  Volunteers will receive regular communication with all updates.




Hours of Operation

Sunday                 Closed

Monday               Closed

Tuesday               10 am – 5 pm (public welcome 11 am –4 pm)

Wednesday         10 am – 5 pm (public welcome 11 am – 4 pm)

Thursday             10 am – 5 pm (public welcome 11 am – 4 pm)

Friday                  10 am – 5 pm (public welcome 11 am– 4 pm)

Saturday             12 noon – 4 pm (public welcome 12 noon – 4 pm)


What you Can Do

Up to 12 patrons can be in the Library at one time, so patrons will need to wait outside if we are at capacity.  To reduce crowding, we ask you to enter using our accessibility ramp door located in the garden area, and to exitusing our side door located across the street from the Post Office.

Once inside you will notice plexiglass barriers at the Circulation Desk & Reference Desk upstairs.Please observe the signs posted around the library to help you stay safe during your visit.

Visit Guidelines

  • Do not visit if you are feeling unwell, have been in contact with someone who is Covid-19 positive, or if you have been advised to self isolate.
  • We now require all patrons, visitors, and contractors to wear a mask when they visit the library.
  • If you are not able to wear a mask, we are able to provide you with curbside service.
  • Please keep your visits brief, we recommend no longer than 30 minutes
  • Disinfect your hands using the hand sanitizer at the entrance and by the computers
  • Keep 2 meters of physical distance between yourself and others
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow, even if you are wearing a mask
  • Do NOT eat or drink inside the library during your visit

Browse the Shelves

You will be given a basket when you arrive.  Please place any books you touch inside the basket.  You can browse all the shelves to find what you want to borrow.  Just make sure you keep 2 meters between you and anyone else.  There’s a limit of 2 people per aisle in the adult collections, and 1 family group per aisle in the children’s library.  This is to make it easier to maintain social distancing.

Re-shelving Carts

Place any items you look at that do not fit into your basket on the floor or on the re-shelving carts.  Staff will collect, sanitize and re-shelve items.

Staff are available to assist you find what you are looking for so please ask at the Circulation Desk for assistance.

Library Curbside Pickup

If you are not ready to come into the library yet,please continue to use the Library curbside service.  Curbside is available Tuesday to Friday from 10 am to 5 pm.  Place your orders through our catalogue, online via email information@fernieheritagelibrary.com, or by calling 250-423-4458.  We will get everything ready and call you when items ready to be picked up.

Return Material

Return all material using our 24/7 drop box in the door across from the Scotia Bank.All items are cleaned, checked in, and reshelved.

Public Computers

There are 3 public access computers available to use for up to45minutes at a time.   Computer work stations are sanitized between each use. As staff need time to clean computers,we ask everyone to follow the directions of the staff.  Please sanitize your hands before using the computer, (even if you just did so when coming in).

Free wi-fi is available throughout the Library and in the garden.


You can print from any of the public access computers.  Photocopying, scanning, and faxing are also available.  Fees apply for these services.

Places to sit& Telephone Access

We do not have public seating available.  Remember to try to keep your stay brief, we recommend no longer than 30 minutes.

Library telephones are not available for use by the public.

In-Person Programming

We continue to offer virtual programs via social media and zoom.  We are not currently offering in person programming.

What library team members are Doing to Stay Safe

Library staff and volunteers follow a range of health and safety protocols including:

  • Not coming to work if they are feeling unwell – all staff and volunteers complete a mandatory daily self-check before coming to work.
  • How to properly wash hands, wear face masks, and maintain a physical distance of 2 meters between each other and patrons
  • Washing or sanitizing hands frequently
  • Maintaining physical distancing of 2 meters whether in the workroom or when helping the public
  • Wearing a face mask whenever they are sharing space with another team member.
  • Wearing a face mask and/or shield when helping patrons on the floor
  • Cleaning high-touch surfaces around the library and in the staff workroom frequently
  • Observing enhanced protocols for specific tasks
  • Using recommended cleaners and disinfectants

The library provides staff and volunteers with face masks, face shields, gloves, cleaners and disinfectants that they keep at their workstations for their use.  Team members wear a mask when they are in the building unless they are the only person in an office space.

Over and above the measures noted above, library staff use a daily checklist to ensure sanitization supplies are stocked, high–touch surfaces are cleaned regularly throughout the day and that signage is clear and accurate.  Library staff also hold regular briefings to ensure any issues that come up can be dealt with quickly.

We are closely monitoring the situation within our community, in BC, in Canada and around the world.  As the pandemic changes, hours of operation and the range of services will adapt, however we expect that some services may not be fully restored until the Province moves into Phase 4 of its Restart Plan.