Library 2020 report

Picton Branch of the Prince Edward County Public Library. (Desirée Decoste/Gazette Staff)

Each year, the Library shares an annual report highlighting the activities of the previous year. 2020 began with library participation in Flashback February, International Women’s Day and more. A full schedule of activities was planned. In March, all library programs were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The library was then closed by provincial order until July.   While we were closed, 17,104 ebooks and audiobooks were borrowed, in addition to the 9,692 books sent by mail, and picked up through curbside pickup when that became possible. From January to December 2020, 179,543 items were checked out and 820 programs held with 13,069 attendees.

Throughout 2020, we endeavoured to bring you as many virtual author conversations as possible. We chatted with authors Katherine Ashenburg, Alan Bradley, Jane Christmas, Shani Mootoo, Peter Blendell, Shelagh Hurley, Tim Cook, David Frum, Catherine Bush, Kathryn Kuitenbrower, Vicki Delany, JD Carpenter, Andrew Binks and Spectral Musings Podcast creators Cheryl Bruce and Jennifer Sommer. We added Spanish and French classes, tech workshops, online storytime and much more. Discover YOUth, the 2SLGBTQ+ drop in group moved to an online format and played video games and watched movies while connecting with each other. Creating all of these new and enhanced programs has been an exercise in creativity. Library board vice chair Dawn Cutler said, “While working from home, the staff think outside the box proving to be agile, flexible and innovative in planning and executing programs and services.  The staff have made us proud to be part of this institution and the Library Board and Management appreciate all their hard work.”

In 2020, the Archives quietly celebrated their ten year anniversary at the current facility, at the Wellington Branch of the Library. Until 2010, the Archives was operated by Historical Society volunteers through the summer months at the old jail in Picton, and the Archives still counts the Historical Society as a valued partner. The Archives have offered remote services, allowing researchers to phone or email with their query, responding to 520 requests as compared to 2019’s 365 requests. Archives assistant Linda Mathews celebrated her 40th anniversary with the Library and Archives in 2020.

Throughout the pandemic, we have consulted regularly with Hastings Prince Edward Public Health to ensure that we are offering services safely. “Curbside pickup, sanitizing and quarantining library books, and helping people without welcoming them into the library has been a challenge but one that the staff have embraced fully,” explained CEO Barbara Sweet. “It’s gratifying to know that the library has continued to be a mainstay in people’s lives even if the way they use it has temporarily changed.”

Throughout this current stay-at-home order, the library is open at each of the six branches for contactless curbside pickup and essential computer use, as well as online programs and resources. If you have any questions about library service, please give us a call at (614) 476-5962 or visit peclibrary.org.

-Liz Zylstra