March 19 Update

Hi Everyone,

Please take the time to care for yourself and your family.

If you have any concerns or questions, please contact a member of the executive.

Please pass this email to anyone who needs it.

In Solidarity,


A new page is added to the system sub-site of surrey library citynet.

Title: Message from Chief Librarian – March 19, 2020


Created By: Seline Kutan

Created Date: 2020-03-19 5:08:25 PM

News Content:

Message from Chief Librarian – March 19, 2020


Hi Everyone,

Thank you for your patience, resourcefulness and resiliency in this challenging time. I am committed to providing you daily updates and share as much information with you as available. Your questions and concerns are forwarded to me from your managers and union rep. The Ops team meets daily via teleconference to discuss solutions and I am providing updates to you here from those meetings.

Yesterday we had a joint meeting with the union executive, and we had a labour management meeting today. In these fast-changing times, decisions are being updated with new information daily. Where possible, we align with the City of Surrey practices, so please continue to read the ‘Staff Communications’ emails from the City. Here are some updates from today:

  • Branch book drops will be closed and deliveries to Collections Services are being cancelled to minimize the risk of exposure.
  • InterLINK and InterLibrary loans have been suspended.
  • Dues dates and holds have been extended to April 30.
  • We’ve seen a rise in the use of our online resources and we’re investigating options for people to register for a new card remotely.
  • We’re working on updating branch voicemail messages to indicate branches are closed.
  • We’ve developed guidelines around working remotely and we’ll be prioritizing the projects that can be worked on remotely and assessing the availability of laptops to perform this work.
  • Staff who are within walking distance of a branch may switch their shifts to that branch to avoid travel on public transit – ask your manager if this applies to you.

We have heard that many of you are questioning why you are still being asked to come to work when public libraries across Canada are sending library staff home. We appreciate and understand your concern. These decisions are made at a local level in alignment with municipalities. Closing the Library to the public has reduced the level of risk, and we have adopted social isolation measures for staff coming in to work. While the Library is not open to the public, it is still operating and there is work for staff to do. In Surrey our city colleagues are still working at City Hall and many other City locations and continue to serve the public.

We are working to minimize risk for staff which is why we are closing book drops and canceling deliveries to Collections Services. Additionally, work schedules will no longer be limited to daytime only in order to spread out shifts and further reduce the number of people working at one time. Finally, we are reviewing options for remote work, although this may not be possible for all job functions.

If you are still uncomfortable about coming in to work, you may choose to remain home and use your vacation leave or banked time.

As the days progress, and we continue to face challenges and uncertainty, please take care of yourself. I encourage you to take advantage of the Employee and Family Assistance program, open to all staff including casuals. Do fun things – yoga, go for walks in the sunshine, have a daily branch dance party! We have amazing staff who are caring and kind, and even though our world is changing, I’m so fortunate to be in a workplace with such dedicated and wonderful staff!

Surinder Bhogal, Chief Librarian


Important Reminders:

  • If you have flu like symptoms, do not come to work. Stay home and take care of yourself.
  • If you have been ill and no longer have any symptoms of illness, you may return to work. Medically clearance to return to work is only required for people with confirmed cases of COVID-19.
  • Wear gloves when handling material and try not to touch your face.

Book drops will be closed from tomorrow, but if you are able to do so safely, clean returned items.

COVID-19 Compared to other common conditions

(usually dry)
(usually dry)
Aches & PainsSometimesCommonCommonNo
Runny or
Stuffy Nose
Sore ThroatSometimesCommonSometimesNo
DiarrheaRareNoSometimes for childrenNo
Shortness of BreathSometimesNoNoCommon

Sources: WHO, CDC, American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology