May 7 – update

Hi Everyone,

The executive is confirming details of another Zoom meeting later in the month. The meeting invite will be sent through our email list.

On May 6, Surinder sent an update to the Surrey Libraries staff. Please see the update below,

In Solidarity,


From: Bhogal, Surinder <>
Sent: May 6, 2020 8:31 PM
Subject: Message from Chief Librarian: Provincial Announcement on Restart Plan and Re-opening Surrey Libraries

Hi Everyone,

Many of you will have seen today’s announcement from the provincial government on the restart plan. Key goals of the plan are to :

  • Protect lives by suppressing transmission as low as possible for our at-risk populations;
  • Ensure our health system has capacity to provide quality care to non-COVID-19 and COVID-19 patients alike;
  • Alleviate the physical, social and mental health challenges that come with restricting social interaction; and
  • Rebuild a resilient economy and provide supports for people to safely return to work; and, į Strengthen the social fabric of our families and communities.

For employers,  recommendations are to review:

  • Physical distancing measures – measures to reduce the density of people.
  • Engineering controls – physical barriers (like plexiglass at checkouts), or increased ventilation.
  • Administrative controls – clear rules and guidelines.
  • Personal protective equipment – e.g. use of non-medical masks

They have suggested Libraries could restart in phase 1, starting mid-May onwards. I was on a call with 55 Library Directors from across the Province this afternoon, and most libraries are not ready to open their buildings to the public in mid-May. With this announcement, we may expect public pressure to reopen; however, we need time to ensure our workplaces and procedures are in place for a safe return to work for staff, before the public are reintroduced to the branches. We have started drafting reopening plans (and many of the provincial recommendations are already considered), with a curbside delivery option as the first phase.  We will be discussing draft plans with the Union and H+ S Committee over the next few days and look forward to sharing drafts with you for input and comment.

To clarify, public libraries were not ordered to shut down by the Province. The closure decisions were made at a local government level, as will be the reopening decisions. Our reopening plans will need to be reviewed by the City’s Emergency Operations Centre, Council and the Library Board.  Some of the factors considered will be our ability to comply with provincial orders, public demand, financial viability, and ensuring staff and public safety. We are working on many of these details and most certainly will not be ready in mid-May – one of the first steps is to bring some of our staff back.

With the easing of restrictions, as we begin to gradually reintroduce more services, we will be able to bring more laid-off staff back to work. As it will be a phased approach to reopening, we will start to recall staff in phases, based on staffing requirements for each phase. We will work with the union on the details of recalling staff back to work.

I’m very excited by this announcement and looking forward to seeing more of our colleagues back at work. We will work together to ensure our workplaces are safe and that we can continue to support our community through this crisis.

The complete plan can be reviewed here:

I plan to send weekly updates to staff moving onwards – please don’t hesitate to ask me if you have any questions.