Surrey Library workers
From: Bhogal, Surinder <Sbhogal@surrey.ca>
Sent: July 10, 2020 8:45 AM
To: SURREY PUBLIC LIBRARY <SURREYPUBLICLIBRARY2@surrey.ca>
Subject: Message from Chief Librarian: Reopening Plans IMPORTANT
I’m excited to share that planning for reopening ALL our branches after Labour Day is underway. Please see details below, and also other important information for currently employed and temporarily laid-off staff:
Reopening Branches after Labour Day
We are optimistic that we can reopen all 9 branches after Labour Day. Tentative date, still to be finalized, is Wednesday September 9. We will be able to recall more regular staff, while meeting the targeted savings amount set to help with the City’s forecast shortfall. We are drafting a service delivery plan including safety considerations. We propose limited opening hours (tbd) with no service on Sunday. Patrons will have access to the computers and limited browsing. We will ensure plexi-glass barriers are installed where necessary, and encourage ‘short’ visits to maintain safe occupancy levels. There will be no in-branch programs, and no access to meeting rooms or study rooms. The Labour Management Committee met on July 8 to start preliminary discussions. Our aim is to send a recall notice to more regular full time and part time staff by the end of July/early August with a work start date in early September. We understand staff may have to arrange childcare or care for elderly, and want to provide as much notice as possible. At this point, unfortunately, clerks or casual staff will not be recalled.
We received feedback from the Union that our public survey excluded certain segments of the community, such as new Canadians, single parents, and elderly residents from low income backgrounds with no computer access. The public survey is important to understand community feedback, but it is only one piece of information to inform our reopening plans. In rolling out the survey, we considered how to reach non-English speakers and those without computer access. We contemplated working with our non-profit partners; however, the logistics, pandemic safety considerations, and limited staffing to assist made it challenging. Our survey report to the Board acknowledges that “only those with access to technology, and those fluent in English could respond.” Patrons without computers have been phoning us and the needs of these community members have also been shared by our non-profit partners, who we have continued to work with throughout the pandemic.
Chief Librarian Town Hall
We are working on a date for the next Chief Librarian Town Hall. Others members of the Senior Leadership Team may participate in responding to your questions (so you don’t get bored of me talking at you for an hour!). We are trying to pick a time that will be convenient for both employed and laid-off staff. Please stay tuned.
I had an opportunity to visit all branches that launched the Takeout Service. It was wonderful to connect with staff and see you working together to prepare orders for our patrons. I’d like to thank everyone who worked very hard to get this service up and running and to all of you who are enthusiastically filling the orders. We have learnt that the current model is fairly labour-intensive, and we will continue modify the workflow and processes, based on your feedback. Overall, the comments have been positive and I wanted to share a note I received from a satisfied patron:
“I am writing to place on record my deep appreciation of the Surrey Libraries’ efforts to provide service during the COVID19 pandemic. Despite the non-availability of Physical Books I had reading materials available continuously through Overdrive and this included recent Bestsellers. Other services specifically to deal with the social distancing norms have also been very useful and i have availed of the Gale courses. Now, that the take away service is available we can get the books we know and love in Physical form:-) The staff is going way beyond the call of duty to make the curbside take away work and I’m thankful to them.”
I’d like to echo my appreciation of our staff. The last few weeks have been immensely challenging and I’m so impressed with how we have come together to serve our community in uncertain times, not always know the right answers or best approaches, but being open to figuring things out together – and being supportive to each other throughout the process.
I’d like to conclude that although reopenings are happening, global cases are on the rise, including daily record-breaking numbers in our closest neighbour, the U.S. The numbers in BC are also creeping up with 20 new cases reported yesterday. We need to continue to exercise caution. Please remember the 3 ‘C’s – CLOSE, CLOSED and CROWDED. Keep 2 metres apart from each other, limit being in small closed spaces indoors, and limit your time in crowded spaces. Practice frequent handwashing and cleaning of surfaces. Do not come to work if you are experiencing symptoms. COVID-19 is with us until a vaccine or cure is found, and it is each of our responsibility to adapt our behaviours to keep ourselves and each other safe.
SURINDER BHOGAL | CHIEF LIBRARIAN
10350 University Drive, Surrey, BC, Canada V3T 4B8