YRL Blog - Updates and more

YRL Best Practices - Library Reopening During a Pandemic - May 8, 2020

YRL Curbside Delivery of Library Materials - April 20, 2020

May 25

Patron expiration dates

  • On June 1, YRL will be doing a bulk change for patrons with expiration dates in the month of June – they will be extended through until July 31, 2020.
  • If you do not want this, or would like a longer extension, please email Stephanie at sthero@yrl.ab.ca as soon as possible.

Washable keyboards and mice

  • For those who were interested in sealable, washable keyboards and mice, we have sourced out a supplier who has high inventory (for now) of high-quality, waterproof, dishwasher-safe units:
    • Seal Shield Silver Seal TM Waterproof Keyboard, Black, SSKSV207 – $115.99 View keyboard
    • Seal Shield Silver Storm TM Waterproof Mouse, Corded, Black, STM042 – $83.49 View mouse
  • YRL will coordinate the bulk purchase and invoice your library after. As stocks of such items are in high demand, the order will be submitted at the end of this week.
  • If you are interested in purchasing these for your library, email the quantity of each to Stephanie by 12:30 p.m. on Friday, May 29.

Reopening notes

  • Separation barrier specifications
    • There has not been a size stipulation provided by the province. None of the best practices out of the US have indicated any size standards.
    • Most libraries that are going forward with barriers are ensuring that they extend up quite high (at least 6-8” above the height of the tallest staff person or patron).
    • Some libraries are opting to use a clear shower curtain suspended from the ceiling and taped to the desk.
  • Number of people in the library
    • At this point, the maximum number of people that can be in the facility cannot exceed 15, until and unless the province determines that libraries can act as retail outlets.
    • The Public Library Services Branch (PLSB) set out a suggestion of one person per 10 square metres (108 square feet) but you cannot allow more than 15 people in at this time, even if the calculation indicates otherwise. One thing to consider, is to remove the space taken up by computer stations, staff work areas, shelving and any other fixtures. For example, when Edmonton Public Library ran the calculation on one of their 8,000 square foot spaces and removed the space taken up by shelving and other items, they had 15 people allowed in; at this time, they determined that 15 people is too many to keep the staff safe so will not be opening to the public. 
    • A majority of libraries in the province are moving to start curbside pickup OR a combination of curbside pickup and allowing customers to enter the library into clearly defined areas for holds pickup or computer use only (closed stacks, no browsing).
    • You could, as Stage 2 opens, allow up to 15 people – but you must ensure physical distancing and that any surface touched by patrons and/or staff is thoroughly cleaned, including books.
  • School-housed/Co-located libraries
    • School-housed public libraries and other co-located areas may be included in Stage 3. The PLSB is going to confirm because there are quite a few school-housed/co-located public libraries in the province.
    • Questions to consider: Do you have your own public entrance? Or an entrance that is separate from the school (or other organizations)? Is the school (or other organizations) aware of your opening plans?
ALTA Virtual AGM
  • Find out the details and download the Saturday, June 13 meeting documents from the ALTA website.

May 22

The Dewey Divas and Dudes presentations

  • The Dewey Divas and Dudes are excited to offer a virtual presentation of the Spring 2020 books that should absolutely not be missed! These titles are the must-reads and hidden gems hand-picked by our reps that will entertain, absorb, and comfort readers of all ages. Thank you to Wendy at Westlock Municipal Library for sharing this with us!
  • Pre-registration is required by Sunday, May 24 to attend one or both sessions. Register
    • Tuesday, May 26, 11:00 a.m.: Adult picks
    • Wednesday, May 27, 11:00 a.m.: Kids and teen picks
Excellence Canada webinars
  • Thursday, May 28, 11:00 a.m.: Workplace Wellness, It's Not Just Checking a Box – If you are going to do wellness, why not do it well? In this session we will explore the science of wellness and key elements required to drive sustainable health behaviour change, the power of measuring wellness, and a glimpse into the future using data to drive tailored interventions. Register
  • Thursday, June 11, 12:00 p.m.: How to Enable Your Workforce to Thrive as You Transition Out of the Pandemic – Anyone in a management position can benefit from these insights about designing a healthy change process, cultivating team resilience, and fostering the mutual trust that will be essential for future success. Register

May 21

Polaris considerations when offering curbside services

  • While many libraries are offering curbside services and the van delivery system is starting to move materials around, the ability to place holds in TRACpac for YRL libraries will not be activated yet. This is one way we are “flattening the curve” of materials moving around in the initial stages of reopening. Considerations include:
    • The majority of libraries are not fulfilling holds from other locations, regardless of what region they are in. Some regions are not yet doing deliveries between all their libraries, and government courier is not yet operational.
    • Holds that are placed, go to pending and then are ignored long term, can become problematic to the holds routing setup in Polaris.
    • We have to be very considerate of the capacity of our van deliveries. At present, YRL van deliveries are more about moving material that has been returned and providing libraries with their new materials.
    • Reducing the impact on libraries when they reopen as well as limit the volume of materials coming through all sites, including YRL HQ. All the materials that were checked out are going to be returned, likely quickly, and must be quarantined for 3-5 days minimum. Bins and storage space is going to be at a premium.
  • Despite the hiatus of patrons being able to place holds in TRACpac, library staff are still able to place item-specific holds on their own materials in Polaris/Leap and be able to identify it in Request Manager (just switch the By field to Pickup and Status to Active). When you check the items out, they will take the regular loan period, so if you’re looking to go longer or shorter, make sure to choose a Special Loan Period date.
  • One thing you’ll need to consider is whether you want email, phone and text message notifications turned on; they are currently turned off. That’s going to include hold notices, but also almost overdue reminders, overdue notices, patron expiration reminders, etc. For more information or to turn your notifications on, email Stephanie at sthero@yrl.ab.ca.
  • Contact Stephanie if you have any Polaris-related questions about curbside services.

REALM project update: Material testing underway

  • Five items commonly found in public libraries have been selected for initial lab testing to determine the length of time the COVID-19 virus may live on the surface of these materials. Testing began May 13 using materials provided to Battelle by Columbus Metropolitan Library, and the results of this first round are expected to be released mid-June.
  • For more information on this first round of testing and other activities, visit the “Happening Now” project update page. For more on the scope, timeline, and committees involved with the REALM project, visit oc.lc/realm-project.

May 20

Ancestry Library Edition update

  • Remote access of Ancestry Library Edition has been extended another month to June 30, 2020.

Flushing building water systems

  • For buildings that have had low or zero occupancy during the COVID-19 pandemic, the water lines in these building should be flushed to ensure that potential microbial and chemical risks from stagnant water are minimized. Alberta Environment and Parks produced this Guidance for Flushing Water Systems document.

May 19

AUMA webinar on YouTube

  • Last week's 90-minute Ask the experts webinar is available on YouTube.
Is it safe to borrow library books?
  • This reader-submitted question was in a CBC news article. Please note that Alberta-specific information will be forthcoming but this does underly the importance of libraries to quarantine materials and the need to communicate the same to their staff and patrons.

How to manage anxiety during COVID-19 - A guide for frontline workers

  • This Crisis & Trauma Resource Institute blog post has five anxiety-reducing tips for frontline workers.

May 15

PLSB public library relaunch update

  • As part of Opening soon: Alberta’s relaunch strategy, the Government of Alberta is beginning to carefully and gradually lift restrictions imposed as part of the COVID-19 response. Stage One of the relaunch began May 14. Public libraries remain closed to the public right now and should continue to offer virtual services during this time.
  • Public libraries can re-open to the public with restrictions as part of Stage Two of the relaunch. Stage Two will begin after analysis can be done on the impact of Stage One. There is not a specific date for Stage Two to begin.
  • Your public library board likely has many questions about what this means for your staff and patrons. You probably want to start planning now for re-opening when it is permitted. The PLSB want to empower you to know that:
    • Your board can choose whether or not to re-open to the public when provincial restrictions are lifted in Stage Two.
    • Your board can choose what services to offer at that time.
  • To help guide public library boards in their decision making, refer to this document and this checklist.

May 14

Reopening libraries

  • Premier Kenney announced yesterday that Stage 2 of the Alberta Relaunch Strategy would not start any earlier than Friday, June 19. Libraries are included in Stage 2; however, restrictions must be adhered to including two metre physical distancing requirements and other public health guidelines. We will continue to send out more information as it becomes available.
Managing your team post-pandemic
  • Managing your staff as they return to work will be different than a few months ago; listen to the recording (password: FxAJs4pa) of this RBC Dominion Securities presentation for some great ideas and approaches.

Grammarly for free

  • Grammarly provides writing support including critical grammar, spelling, punctuation and conciseness suggestions, along with tone detection, and they have launched a tailored offering for non-profits that is free through all of 2020. This free offer provides access to key features, including all premium-level writing suggestions, administrator dashboards, and integrations with websites and workplace tools.

May 13

YRL Delivery Schedule - May 19 to June 25

  • Thank you to our member library staff for their flexibility and communication these last few weeks as we have experimented with van runs to deliver new books and in-transit items to your libraries. We have really appreciated everyone putting safety first and being open to changing how you accept the bins. It has led to this! A modified delivery schedule for the next six weeks. This will help everyone to plan and help us to keep new books flowing into your libraries. A few things to remember:
    • If you do not want to accept a delivery, that is okay. Please mail delivery@yrl.ab.ca or askyrl@yrl.ab.ca to let us know.
    • If we do not have any bins for your location in any given week, we may contact you to see if you have items to pick-up. 
    • If you have any questions or concerns about delivery and you would like to make further changes to how we are picking up bins and/or where we are dropping them off, please contact Jocie Wilson at jwilson@yrl.ab.ca. We want to ensure we are not causing any extra anxiety or worry by re-establishing deliveries/pick-ups and will work with each individual location to meet your needs the best way we can.
    • Please continue to be flexible. We are cautiously optimistic by planning for a six-week period but at any given time we may need to make further modifications to this schedule. We will do our best to communicate this with you if anything arises.
AUMA webinar
  • May 14, 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. - Ask the Expert: What a “relaunch” means to municipal & community services: With the recent announcement of the Provincial Relaunch Strategy, there have been many questions about how and when to reopen municipal services and businesses within our communities. AUMA is hosting this multi-stakeholder webinar with a panel of experts to provide:
    • A status update on the province's Relaunch Strategy and what supporting materials are available.
    • Some insights into developments and delivery timelines.
    • Q&A with the best information available.

Free self-paced online courses

  • NorQuest College is offering free self-paced tutorial courses during the pandemic with three months to complete the 24-course-hour programs.
    • Managing customer service: Become indispensable to any organization by understanding how to identify and meet customer needs. Register
    • Fundamentals of supervision and management: Learn the people skills required to motivate and delegate, and learn tools for solving problems and resolving conflicts. Register
    • Personal finance: Protect your assets and discover how best to achieve all your financial goals. Register
    • Individual excellence: Master twelve career-enhancing skills including goal setting, time management, personal organization, and creativity. Register
    • Keys to effective communication: Lost for words? Don't be! Learn to build rapport, trust, warmth, and respect through conversation. Register

May 12

PLSB operating grant payments update

  • As of May 5, all payments have been processed. If you receive direct deposit, please check your accounts to make sure the funds are there. If you receive a cheque, they were put in the mail the morning of May 12, so they should get to you by the end of this week. Contact libgrants@gov.ab.ca if you have not received your cheque by May 22, to submit your grant application, or if you have inquiries about the grant or the grant process.
TAL update
  • By calculating the value of licensing through TAL, the overall consortia savings for TAL Opt-in licenses totaled over $2.25 million in 2019, not including savings from the TAL Public or Academic Cores. Individual reports for each TAL member will be distributed in the next few weeks.
  • Contacted several suppliers of "sneeze guards" to see whether there was a role for TAL in buying them on behalf of members. Because they need to be individually fitted to your desk, and the vendors aren't interested in offering a bulk discount, TAL will not be pursuing this.

YRL-recorded webinars

  • Library Development Services staff created an April-June 2020 Webinars playlist on YouTube for member library staff to view at their convenience. You can currently watch Collection Development 2.0 and Finding your Collection Gaps, and more will be added soon!

May 11

TAL update

  • TAL is in discussions with other western Canadian consortia to prepare a joint COVID-19 response statement for vendors. The purpose is to approach vendors with a common, coordinated message requesting vendors to keep renewal pricing stable for libraries in these difficult times.
  • We have started a section on our site for post-pandemic planning.  We will include resources there that might help with your planning for re-opening, or for moving forward after your libraries re-open.
  • An interesting, free webinar on hosting practicum students remotely from CERIC: Going remote with experiential learning and work-integrated learning.
    • Wednesday, May 13, 10:00-11:00 a.m.: What is work-integrated learning when workplaces are remote? What is front-line experience when locations are essential staff only? How to host a placement student in these times? These are the questions we are facing. This practical session is about getting to “this is a possible option” by identifying priority outcomes, the design options that remain, and assessment/feedback and activities that could align. Register
Video editing software
  • Screencast-O-Matic is a free software program offering easy-to-use, accessible tools to create and share videos; you can upgrade to the Deluxe version for $20/year or the Premier version for $48/year to get enhanced editing features and the ability to transfer videos from a mobile device to save as an MP4 or easily post to social media. Thank you to Kelly at Onoway Public Library for sharing this with us!

CORE Alberta

  • Yesterday, the government announced a new online hub called CORE Alberta to coordinate community services for older Albertans and seniors during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. The hub will make it easier for seniors-serving organizations to share resources and coordinate services and will feature:
    • Online forums to access training, share resources and promote best practices.
    • A link to Alberta 211 for seniors seeking direct supports.
    • Information about volunteer safety, protocols and guidelines.
    • Links to funding opportunities and resources to address challenges related to COVID-19.

May 8

YRL Best Practices: Library Reopening During a Pandemic

  • Public library boards and directors can refer to this document for information and best practices around reopening. We will update and resend this document as more information becomes available.
CMOH profile article
  • Before she was Alberta's CMOH, Dr. Deena Hinshaw “impressed her medical professors with her quiet thoughtfulness, commitment and empathy for patients.” Find out more about Dr. Hinshaw in this folio article.

May 7

PLSB operating grant payments update

  • Normally, the PLSB processes grant payments and each library board receives a letter with the grant amount – enclosed with the cheque or on its own if the funds are direct deposited (aka EFT); however, with the current COVID-19 situation, the PLSB will not be sending letters for the 50 per cent advance. Letters will be sent with/for the second payment later this year.
Leading Remote Teams When the Stakes are High recorded webinar
  • Have a look at this Center for Creative Leadership recorded webinar and slide deck to review the mindset, skillset and toolset needed to navigate the new virtual landscape with greater effectiveness.

It's who you know...

  • We are looking for a distillery within the YRL region that is currently producing hand sanitizer. Do you know of one? Do you know the owner(s)? Please share what you know with us at askyrl@yrl.ab.ca.

May 6

Your Home Librarian newsletter

  • Sign up to receive this weekly newsletter for help through the COVID-19 crisis – it will keep you informed, entertained and organized as well as providing book recommendations for readers of all ages, multigenerational activity ideas and tips on home organization. Thank you to Darlene from Drayton Valley Municipal Library for sharing this with us!

Old-fashioned connection: Phone programming

  • Library programming has gone digital… but what about patrons without internet access, or with very limited access? To combat the digital divide, libraries and humanities professionals are finding the old-fashioned phone to be a strong programming tool. From Programming Librarian, a website of the American Library Association Public Programs Office, this news article offers tips on how your library can start similar programming.

May 5

Annual conference

  • It will come as no surprise that YRL's annual conference will not take place as usual at the River Cree Resort & Casino. But that won't mean we won't be learning together this fall! Stay tuned – we have something incredible up our sleeves and we can't wait to share it with you soon!

Libraries reopening globally

  • The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions’ COVID-19 and the Global Library Field blog has a dedicated Reopening Libraries section with information on what libraries around the world are doing.

Signs, signs, everywhere there's signs...

  • You may need some signs when we relaunch society, here are some useful links:

Personnel management kiosks

  • The wave of the future? Maybe kiosks that check your temperature before entry will be in public libraries! Watch this webinar about the Meridian kiosk and if you are interested in purchasing one (or more) for your library, email Stephanie.

May 4

YRL Public Libraries' Council meeting cancelled

  • In consultation with PLC Chair Robert McClure, the decision was made to cancel the meeting scheduled for this Friday, May 8.

ORC 101 Public Libraries webinar

  • May 5, 1:30 p.m.-2:15 p.m.: Join this free webinar tomorrow by Lorisia MacLeod, ORC Coordinator at The Alberta Library (TAL), for an overview of the K-12 resources available and the temporary login access change. Register
Mental Health Week
  • The Mental Health Week website has articles and tips for every age group along with shareable resources for social media using #GetReal.
  • The Wellness Together Canada website provides tools and resources to help people get back on track with modules for addressing low mood, worry, substance use, social isolation, and relationship issues.

May 1


  • Statistics have been compiled and are available online.
  • We added a new sheet called “Patrons” which has the numbers of patrons renewed and new patrons signed up, as well as the number of help questions that came through on the website forms.
  • March to April usage increases:
    • OverDrive – up 15% (YRL patrons) and 18% overall in TRAC
    • hoopla – up 44% (YRL patrons)
    • cloudLibrary – up 27% (all TRAC, including Parkland Regional Library borrowing)
    • PressReader newspapers – up 10%
    • RBdigital magazines – up 38%
  • New patrons accessing eResources for the first time:
    • OverDrive – 349 new YRL users (1,299 for all of TRAC)
    • hoopla – 228 new YRL users
    • cloudLibrary – 503 new users (across TRAC, not exclusive to YRL)
PLSB update
  • You will likely have heard details about Alberta’s Relaunch Strategy. Public libraries will be considered in Phase Two of the relaunch. Details will be shared as they become available.

Cleaning versus disinfecting

April 30

Let Me Out! Designing and Implementing Digital Escape Rooms webinar

  • Thursday, May 14, 11:00-11:45 a.m.: With many libraries adapting programs for virtual environments due to the pandemic, one unexpected contender has emerged: the digital escape room. Join Hailey McCullough, Head of Adult Services at Grande Prairie Public Library, as she discusses and demonstrates the steps for creating a digital escape room of your own using Google Forms. Register
COVID-19 Impact on Mental Health Pulse Check Survey
  • The Conference Board of Canada, Mental Health Commission of Canada and Workplace Safety & Prevention Services developed this short 5-minute survey designed to provide a snapshot of the current state of Canadians’ mental health, the coping strategies that people are using and perceived assessment of how they are working. “Complete the survey and share it with your teams and professional colleagues. Aggregate results will be available at the end of May. Not only will this serve us as we move through the next few months, it will provide vital insight to assist with planning and decision making in the future.”

Dealing with uncertainty and anxiety during these times

  • When events are unpredictable, anxiety can increase. Here are some helpful tips from the Centre for Creative Leadership to aid you during those anxious moments.

April 29

Extensions for due dates and patrons

  • Due dates for items Out: This will be done for all items, excluding digital titles, regardless of when they were checked out. Item checkouts will be extended until July 31, 2020. TRAC understands that some libraries have been checking out items during the broader closure; however, with more than 200,000 items currently Out, this must be done for all items in one go.
  • Items with Being Held: Status will be extended until July 31, 2020.
  • Patrons with expiration dates in May 2020: These will be extended through until July 31, 2020. If this concerns you, please contact Stephanie as soon as possible at sthero@yrl.ab.ca.
Libraries Reimagined
  • Libraries Reimagined is a special public radio series examining the role of libraries as a fundamental resource for democracy where you’ll hear from librarians in the field, library patrons, and authors and experts including bestselling author and sociologist Eric Klinenberg. You can share the four-part series online and there is promotional artwork available in a variety of digital formats.

World Tales Short Story Competition

  • With the aim to foster imagination, resourcefulness and ingenuity, UNESCO and the Idries Shah Foundation launched the World Tales Short Story Competition in close collaboration with the International Coalition of Inclusive and Sustainable Cities of UNESCO. Using the theme Once upon a time in my future, young teenagers from all over the globe are invited to write about challenges of today and tomorrow and share their perspectives in a short story format. Submissions are accepted until May 31, 2020.

April 28

PLSB update

  • Plan of Service: We are at the time of year when many library boards submit, or begin working on, a new Plan of Service and we’ve had a number of questions about how COVID-19 impacts this process. If you have questions, or want to inquire about the status of your current Plan of Service, please contact Jordan DeSousa.
  • Public library operating grants: As you will likely have seen, Minister Madu sent out a letter last Monday regarding payment of 2020-2021 public library operating grants. All operating grants will be paid out in a first installment of 50 per cent in the next few weeks. This includes municipal library board grants, regional system library board grants, and grants to boards serving Indigenous populations. You do not have to apply for this first 50 per cent payment. Library Boards have until October 1 to submit their annual grant application, and the payment of the second 50 per cent of the operating grant will happen in the fall (and once boards have been able to submit their information to PLSB). Feel free to contact Jen Anderson with questions.
  • Recording books with NNELS: The NARRATE! Pilot Project is an opportunity for libraries to connect their volunteers with NNELS to record an audiobook. This pilot is currently underway with 10 libraries across Canada. Three portable recording kits have gone out to libraries and online training, resources and direct support are available for all participating libraries. If your library is interested in participating in a NARRATE! Project, please fill out the library sign-up. Recording an audiobook is a great activity to do while people are working remotely and will add to available titles for readers with print disabilities.
  • Press Release on World Book Day: You may have seen a government press release last Thursday for World Book Day. Minister Madu celebrated the Read Alberta eBooks Project which PLSB offers in partnership with the Book Publishers Association of Alberta. Did you know that all Alberta libraries have access to the Read Alberta eBooks Project which offers over 1,700 Alberta-published eBooks? And that the Prairie Indigenous eBook Collection – including wonderful children’s books – is also part of the project?  The Read Alberta eBooks Project is also accessible for readers with print disabilities through NNELS. As more and more patrons access eBooks and eContent, now is the perfect time to utilize and promote this funded project. Read Alberta eBooks allows for simultaneous downloads of a title so it is a perfect resource for virtual book clubs. (refer to the second bullet of Virtual book club author visits).

Virtual book club author visits

  • Local author Marty Chan has let us know that he is eager and willing to participate in book club meetings! If you're hosting virtual book clubs for kids, Marty's books are available on hoopla and Overdrive. Please contact him via his website.
  • Other Alberta authors might be interested in virtual appearances at book clubs too! Check out Read Alberta eBooks for lots of great eBooks by local authors for your book clubs.

April 27

TAL update

  • A new section of resources is being created on the TAL website for material to support post COVID-19 planning; more information will be shared soon.
  • In response to a member query: It is an individual library decision whether or not you issue TAL cards during this time of restricted service. Your resource sharing obligations as a TAL member are waived until we all resume normal service.
  • Information will be sent out this week for licensing software to support online reference services.
  • Contact us if there are any other ways that TAL can support you during this time.
CTRI free resources
  • Stress Reduction Exercises: Guided exercises for adults and children for managing stress and anxiety through mindful awareness, breathing, and simple movements (3-8 minute audio recordings).
  • Anxiety – Practical Intervention Strategies: explores practical and accessible strategies which can be applied to all ages, and help address the physical, emotional, cognitive, and social aspects of anxiety (4.5 hour on-demand workshop).

April 24

YRL webinar: Collection Development 2.0

  • Tuesday, April 28, 1:30-2:30 p.m.: Level up your collection development skills! YRL offers several selection tools that you can use to build your collection in both breadth and depth. Move beyond ordering from Amazon and join us for a introduction to our favourite selection tools for all areas of your library collection. Intended for library managers and any library staff members who do selection for the library. Register
PLSB operating grants update
  • All public library boards in the province will automatically be receiving an advance of 50 per cent of their provincial operating grant and system library boards will also be receiving 50 per cent of their library services grant. Here are some logistical details:
    • To see the total amount that your municipal library board is eligible to receive, click here.
    • Your 50 per cent installment will be half of those total amounts.
    • We anticipate the first 50 per cent installment to be reaching library boards in the second or third week of May.
    • The second 50 per cent installment will be released in the fall, after your grant application has been processed and approved for payment.
    • You can access the grant application form, as well as our templates for the financial review, budget and direct payments, on our website.
    • To help speed up processing, if you deposited some or all of your 2019-2020 operating grant after December 31, 2019, please include a deposit slip (or other proof of deposit) with your grant application, as it will not show up in your 2019 financial reviews.
    • Please email your grant applications to libgrants@gov.ab.ca. Unfortunately, we can no longer accept faxed applications.
    • Please note that the website and documentation still list the deadline of June 15 right now (we are working to update it) but the revised deadline for 2020-2021 is October 1st. If you are unable to meet the Oct 1 deadline because of working remotely etc., you will still be paid your second installment when we receive your documentation.
  • If you have already sent in your full grant application, thank you. We will be processing grants over the summer as we usually do, and will have as many as possible ready for payment in the fall so there is no further delay.
  • If the pandemic situation continues into the fall, we will re-evaluate the situation to get you your second grant payment.
  • If you still receive your grant by mail and have concerns about this, please contact Jen Anderson directly.

April 23

The reason video calls drain your energy

  • Video calls are helping us stay employed and connected. But what makes it so tiring – and how can we reduce ‘Zoom fatigue’? Find out more in this BBC article.
How families can cope with pandemic stress
  • Families are experiencing new stresses every day as they practice social distancing during this pandemic. This folio article provides tips to help families cope.

April 22

PLSB update

  • Library Board Governance During the COVID-19 Pandemic webinar: PLSB is hosting four same-content webinars for library board trustees and library managers to expand on the information sent out over the past several weeks. Attend a session to learn more about:
    • Library board governance basics.
    • Board meetings during the pandemic.
    • How policies, plans of service and other governance tools can assist you in this time.
    • PLSB support.
      • Registration is not required; simply click on the link to attend the session that works best with your schedule.
      • Monday, May 4, 11:00-11:45 a.m. Attend
      • Tuesday, May 5, 7:00-7:45 p.m. Attend
      • Wednesday, May 6 from 10:00-10:45 a.m. Attend
      • Thursday, May 7 from 2:00-2:45 p.m. Attend
  • 2020-2021 public library grants: Minister Kaycee Madu sent a letter that explains that the government is paying out 50 per cent of 2020-2021 public library grants right now (without requiring boards to apply and report on last year for this first installment and the second 50 per cent will be paid out in the fall when we have [hopefully] returned to normal practices) with the hope that the first payment alleviates potential cash flow issues and the administrative work of the grant application on librarians and board chairs working remotely.

YRL van runs

  • We will be extending our offer of special van runs to libraries who have staff onsite between April 28 and May 7.
    • If you have not been contacted by YRL and would like a special van run, please email askyrl@yrl.ab.ca by Friday, April 24 and we will schedule a van run for you.
  • We are asking that physical distancing measures be put into place to protect library staff and YRL staff. This may mean that library staff bring bins out to an open area or foyer and the van driver dropping off bins in the same area. We are asking libraries to quarantine all bins for 72 hours after delivery before checking in items.
  • YRL has been cataloging and processing new items so you may receive a mix of new items and items in-transit.
  • Please email askyrl@yrl.ab.ca if you have questions.

IMLS news release

  • In a news release today, IMLS, OCLC and Battelle, announced a new collaboration to support libraries and museums as they consider safe reopening practices in light of COVID-19.
WSCC Pandemic Awareness online course
  • Thank you to Kelly from Onoway Public Library for sharing the information about this course with us! During this 30-minute online course, you will learn about the nature of viruses, how to protect yourself and others from viral spread, and how to react to the different effects of outbreaks and becoming ill during a pandemic event. This course will remain free to use until this pandemic has passed, and is based on the data available and best practices learned from Influenza, COVID-19, and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). Register

April 21

Publisher permission and copyright laws

  • As we move to remote learning and programming, many are worrying and wondering about reading books aloud online and possibly violating copyright laws. In response, many children's publishers have temporarily altered policies.
  • For reference, School Library Journal has created the SLJ COVID-19 Publisher Information Directory.

TAL webinar

  • ORC 101: Public Libraries – Wednesday, April 29, 11:00-11:45 a.m.: An overview of the Online Reference Centre (ORC) specifically with a focus on the important aspects for public libraries. Register
    • This webinar will feature a 20-minute presentation and then extra time for Q&As; topics covered will include:
      • The temporary change in login access.
      • Introduction to the ORC mandate.
      • Overview of the ORC resources.
      • Review of the supports in place for learners and our ORC ambassadors (like you!) who support those learners.
CCL free webinar series
  • Building Resilience and Leadership in the Context of Crisis & Telework – Tuesday, April 28, 3:00-4:00 p.m.: This webinar will cover the importance of resilience and leadership and practical ways to enhance personal and team effectiveness during times of crisis. Register
  • Leading Remote Teams When the Stakes Are High – Wednesday, May 6, 3:00-4:00 p.m.: With new emphasis on telecommuting comes a new need for leading remote teams. Tune into this webinar to learn best practices for virtual leadership. Register

Salt to combat viruses, could be a winner

  • See how University of Alberta researchers are testing compressed salt to make door levers and handrails that fight the spread of viruses in this folio article.

April 20

Curbside delivery of library materials

  • Please refer to this YRL document containing information and best practices about curbside delivery.
Ancestry Library Edition update
  • The temporary access that was expanded to library cardholders working remotely, courtesy of ProQuest and Ancestry, has been extended another month to May 31, 2020.
YRL webinar reminder
  • Connecting with your Customers using LibraryAware on Tuesday, April 21, 1:30-2:30 p.m.: LibraryAware is a library-focused outreach service that allows library staff to design, develop and distribute professional library communications and promotional content. With free access for YRL members, Library Aware features professional designed templates, images and other ready-to-use promotional content that can be used to engage your customers and increase circulation. Intended for any library staff member who does the outreach and social media for the library. Register

TAL update

  • The Online Reference Centre (ORC) webinar from last week was recorded and will be available on our training page.
  • We continue to add library resources to our website and ask that you let us know if there is particular material you would like to see added.
  • Deeper dive into the Calgary Herald webinar on Thursday, April 23, 11:00-11:30 a.m.: By the end of this deep dive session into ProQuest Historical Newspapers: Calgary Herald, you will be able to apply advanced search features, distinguish differences between searching the Calgary Herald and Canadian Newsstream, implement full-text search tricks in place of common ProQuest Platform filters, and create custom links to search multiple databases. Register

April 16

Canada Summer Jobs program changes

  • The federal government announced changes to the Canada Summer Jobs program to help employers hire summer staff and to provide young Canadians access to the jobs they need during this unprecedented time. The temporary changes to the program include:
    • An increase to the wage subsidy, so that private and public sector employers can also receive up to 100 per cent of the provincial or territorial minimum hourly wage for each employee.
    • An extension to the end date for employment to February 28, 2021.
    • Allowing employers to adapt their projects and job activities to support essential services.
    • Allowing employers to hire staff on a part-time basis.

Financial help for Canadians affected by COVID-19

  • This CBC website has a list of benefits the federal government, provinces and territories are offering to people financially affected by the coronavirus including lost income, renters/homeowners, families, seniors, students, businesses, and a personal finance section with information on tax and utility bill deferrals.

The FOLD: April 30-May 3

  • The FOLD celebrates books and stories, with over 30 events that prioritize underrepresented authors and storytellers from around the world. This year’s festival will take place virtually – featuring free online events. Panels, discussions and workshops will allow guests from across Canada and around the world to participate in the festival via Zoom and all virtual events will be close-captioned.

Behind the scenes at Alberta’s COVID-19 testing labs

  • Do you wonder how Alberta is leading the country in testing for the COVID-19 virus? This folio article explains how the provincial laboratory system ramped up to do thousands of tests per day.

April 15

PLSB recommendations for library board meetings

  • PLSB has recommended that meetings for all library boards continue and shift to an online platform. As library board meetings are public, the recommendation is to notify the public (via website(s) and social media) requiring pre-registration so that instructions can be sent (a recommendation to prevent being hijacked if using Zoom).
  • If you would like help with setting up a virtual board meeting, please contact email askyrl@yrl.ab.ca.

SRC survey

  • Given the current (and potential) social distancing measures, we are requesting feedback on how YRL can support libraries with online SRC programming. Please complete our SRC 2020 survey.

AHS Text4Hope program

  • The Text4Hope program is a free service providing three months of daily cognitive behavioural therapy-based text messages written by mental health therapists. This evidence-based tool helps people identify and adjust the negative thoughts, feelings and behaviours a pandemic might be expected to provoke. Through the messages, you will receive advice and encouragement helpful in developing healthy personal coping skills and resiliency. Subscribing is easy: Text COVID19HOPE to 393939.

Imagine Canada: COVID-19 and the Canadian non-profit sector

  • Charities and non-profits are on the front lines of dealing with the current COVID-19 pandemic in Canada. Imagine Canada is dedicated to supporting you as the situation evolves, and advocating for support from the federal government.
PSD resources webpage
  • PSD has curated a great list on their Crisis Hotlines and Community Resources webpage covering COVID-19 support, crisis hotlines, and community resources including general assistance; addictions, detox and mental health; counseling; food and finance assistance; and shelters and safe houses.

April 14

PLSB curbside delivery service update

  • We know that public libraries are working hard to get readers resources in innovative ways. Some libraries in Alberta have been offering curbside delivery services since our Chief Medical Officer of Health prohibited Albertans from visiting public libraries as of March 17. Following inquiries about the service, we are sending out information that may be useful in your decision making. It is really up to you as a public library board, working with your library director/manager, whether or not to offer curbside services at this time. Some questions to ask when considering this service:
    • How do we protect employees from the risk of transmission?
    • How do we limit the risk of spreading in the workplace?
    • How do we ensure critical aspects of service continue if possible?
  • Safety should be at the forefront of any decision to provide curbside delivery or have staff in a building. This also includes vehicle and road safety if you are providing curbside delivery/pick-up. The Provincial Operations Center shared the following information about curbside delivery services:
    • Libraries can operate but cannot allow public access into the facilities:
      • While public access into libraries is restricted as per Order 02-2020, nothing specifically prohibits a library from offering the delivery or curbside pick up of books and other items.
      • The safest option is for any library is to expand its online offerings and limit the handling of books and other items.
      • As a workplace, a library that offers curbside pick up is responsible for keeping both patrons and workers safe from virus transmission. This means that the library must put measures in place to prevent transmission from handling books and other items.
      • Risk mitigation strategies should address the latest knowledge relating to the risk of transmission of the virus from inanimate objects.
        • The COVID-19 virus can survive up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to 2-3 days on plastic and stainless steel. As books cannot be effectively cleaned and disinfected, it may be wise to store books for a minimum of 24 hours before making them available to a new user. Plastic or stainless-steel items should be cleaned and disinfected immediately upon their return to the library.
        • Books and other educational resources can help to maintain basic societal function, however the library should consider limiting the types of items they make available to the public for pick up.
        • Patrons who are immune compromised or otherwise susceptible to COVID-19 infection should not take out items from the library.
        • Patrons should be advised to wash hands before and after handling books and other items, avoid touching their face while reading and to avoid sneezing or coughing onto the page while reading.
  • Also, a reminder that the Public Library Services Branch in Manitoba has produced a communication on the sanitation/safe handling of books that may be of use during your decision-making.
TAL resources
LAA temporary office closure
  • The LAA office will be closed from April 15 to July 15. The LAA board is available if you need to reach out for support or information.
Created While Isolated website
  • Created While Isolated is a collaborative creativity journal from the Howard County Library System in Maryland. Thank you to Leah from Drayton Valley Municipal Library for bringing this site to our attention!
Online storytime and copyright
  • When it comes to copyright and online storytimes, there isn’t one blanket answer. However, author Kate Messner has created a comprehensive webpage about publisher guidelines during COVID-19.
  • Additionally, Canadian publishers are extending their rights to schools and libraries as well through their Read Aloud Canadian Books Program with more publishers being added each day.
How to Run Coding Programs at Your Library webinar from MLS
  • Tuesday, May 5; 10:00-11:00 a.m.: Join Grant Stewart on a lesson on how to teach kids coding. Grant will show you the basics of the coding program he organized and delivered to dozens of patrons throughout multiple summers working for MLS. He will go over the resources that are the most useful, fun games, and coding toys like the Sphero and Code-a-Pillar that teach kids while they play! Register

April 9

YRL Coffee Chat update

  • Thank you to those who were able to join the first YRL Coffee Chat today! We had 26 people participate including one from another region. We look forward to “seeing” you again next Thursday!
PLSB update
  • The PLSB shared information from the Manitoba Provincial Government, with thanks to their colleagues at the PLSB Manitoba in Brandon, who produced a circular for their libraries with a wealth of good information including how to sanitize books which may be useful to those libraries who are offering curbside delivery/pick-up services.
  • If you are offering or wanting to start curbside service, Boards and Directors need to be very clear on the risks and how much you are willing to accept. Here are some questions to consider:
    • How will you mitigate risks to staff?
    • How will you mitigate the risks to the public?
    • What are the optics of doing this service? Will you be blamed if someone gets sick? Are you encouraging people to leave their homes?
    • What does your local or regional health unit say about this?
    • What is the current COVID-19 infection rate in your community?
    • Libraries are not on the essential services list. There is no clarity yet if either the library or the customer could be fined for this type of service.
    • Are there other ways to provide physical materials to the public without customer interaction?
      • Little free libraries outside the building or in the lobby.
      • Providing sanitized and quarantined material to food banks.
      • Can you mail material to the customer?

Wellness Society Coronavirus Anxiety Workbook

The Conference Board of Canada (TCBC) survey results

  • In an ongoing survey series, TCBC asked organizations across Canada if and how they’re accommodating employees with family responsibilities and have now released their Family Responsibilities Survey Results.

April 8

Is your library in the news?

  • Has your library received any press attention about your programs and/or online services? If you have, please share them with us at askyrl@yrl.ab.ca! Here’s an article about Westlock Municipal Library (shared with permission).
Listing online programs on your website
  • Please start including your online programs on your website as Upcoming Programs so they will be accessible to those who are looking for something to engage with, and really highlights what is happening in your communities. Email wsfl@yrl.ab.ca if you’d like us to do it for you!
Summer Reading Program
  • Discussions have started around how to manage or coordinate a provincial online summer reading program, and what that could look like. More details coming soon!
COVID-19 tracking maps
  • Do you wonder how the COVID-19 tracking maps are developed? Read about the work being done at the University of Alberta through this folio article.
Public Library Services Branch (PLSB) update
  • Please fill out the PLSB programming survey that was sent to all libraries last week! The data will help them determine how to structure the 2020 Annual Report, and share information about programs inside of government.
  • PLSB says “Don’t Panic!” if your Plan of Service is due! They will work with Boards with needs assessment processes, and timelines.
  • Have you pressed your 3D printers into service to produce PPE? Are you working with agencies to loan out laptops or other technology to reduce the digital divide? Are you working with the food bank? What non-library-specific activities are you engaged with to support your community? Please let me know at kpalichuk@yrl.ab.ca as PLSB is looking for these stories!

April 7

Healthy Together website

  • Check out Alberta Health Services’ Healthy Together website, a guide to family and home life during COVID-19. Each weekday, they will post a new story about how families can be healthy, active and safe in these changing times.
3D printing for healthcare workers
  • Does your library have a 3D printer that is currently idle? Check with your local healthcare providers to see if they would like surgical mask straps! These devices hold the elastic straps of a mask, keeping the pressure off the wearers’ ears.

Perceived Isolation-Loneliness Effect survey

  • Want to help on-going research into workplace mental health while going through self-isolation? Share your experience about loneliness in this new type of workplace by taking the Perceived Isolation-Loneliness Effect survey.

The Alberta Library (TAL) request

  • TAL would like to highlight programs and services libraries are currently doing to connect with their community. What have you had success with? What new thing are you proudest of? What idea (or program or video) would you love to share with others? Please email your stories to me at kpalichuk@yrl.ab.ca.

April 6

Utility Payment Deferral Initiative

  • The Government of Alberta has released some updated information regarding the Utility Payment Deferral Initiative it announced on March 18 as part of the financial relief available for Albertans affected by COVID-19. Go to their webpage for additional information regarding the program and its eligibility requirements.
NoveList + LibraryAware News
  • Social distancing means many libraries are offering their in-person services online. NoveList and LibraryAware have put together some great tips, tools and resources to help you make the transition.
  • If you would like specific book lists created for your website for OverDrive and CloudLibrary resources, please email wsfl@yrl.ab.ca.
Guide for municipal leaders on economic response to COVID-19
  • AUMA has developed a guide for municipalities to outline the variety of programs available and actions taken by the Government of Canada and Government of Alberta to stabilize the economy as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. The online guide was updated on April 1, so please make sure you view this new version and its additional resources.
Digital tools to help you work remotely
  • Thank you to YRL Trustee Bill Elliott for sharing with us the details on this free webinar series so we can share it with you!
  • Digital tools to help you work remotely webinars start at 11:00 a.m. MST.
  • https://zoom.us/j/8238748691; Meeting ID 823 874 8691 or One tap mobile 1 647 558 0588.
    • April 8: How to use Zoom effectively
    • April 15: G-Suite for real time use
    • April 22: Communication with Slack and Voxer

Understand the facts: Deciphering COVID-19

  • This 19-minute video provides information from Dr. Timothy Caulfield, University of Alberta Professor in the Faculty of Law and the School of Public Health and Research Director of the Health Law Institute as well as the Canada Research Chair in Health Law and Policy.

Active for Life

  • Need some ideas for you or your library patrons to stay fit while “physically distancing?” Get moving with Active for Life.

The Alberta Library (TAL) updates

  • Province-wide access to the Calgary Herald; details to follow soon.
  • Permanently added the National Film Board of Canada to the Online Reference Centre (English and French) as well as temporary access to five more databases.
  • Library resources including digital and Indigenous resources, training opportunities and working remotely.
  • Details on emergency wage subsidy.

April 2

Statistics – patron renewals

  • We added a new spreadsheet to the 2020 Statistics Google Drive. It is called Patron Renewals. Many of you have asked how many of your patrons’ cards were renewed – now the answer is at your fingertips. This figure is from March 1 – 31. This does not include new memberships.
Emergency funding to charities program
  • If you haven’t seen this yet, the province has a program to support additional emergency funding to charities, not-for-profits and civil society organizations to support their COVID-19 response. In looking at the forms, FAQ and requirements there could be opportunities for libraries to partner with other agencies in your community to offer supports to families, children and seniors. Technology purchases would not be funded. Have a look, the information is here.

Provincial survey

  • Last week, PLSB sent a survey to all public libraries with some information for trustees, and a survey for libraries. They are very interested in we are all doing to offer programs and services through this unprecedented time. PLEASE review this survey and let me (Karla: kpalichuk@yrl.ab.ca) know if you need support with completing it. There is no timeline at this point.

Provincial meeting

  • Every week, the Node Directors meet with PLSB. This includes a brief statement from PLSB and a round table.
    • PLSB is asking for data and stories. If you receive positive feedback on your programs, any impact stories, please send them to me (kpalichuk@yrl.ab.ca).
    • Please track your online program attendance! You will want this information later. If you are on APLAC, there is a good thread on what to count and how. If you are not on APLAC, or unsure what to do, please contact me (kpalichuk@yrl.ab.ca).
    • PLSB would like data on e-resource activity – YRL has responded.
    • PLSB is aware that there are challenges with bandwidth right now (brownouts in some places; slow connectivity in others) and have taken this under advisement. Not sure what they can do, but it doesn’t hurt to ask.
    • YRL has asked PLSB if they can remove the authentication on the Alberta Books resource.

April 1

Email to customers
  • YRL has received some questions about using patron emails stored in Polaris in order to contact patrons during the pandemic to conduct welfare checks, promote online services, identify social isolation etc. Due to Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL), this type of contact is not recommended. How would you feel to know that an organization was looking at your personal contact information in order to send you unsolicited information? This might come across as shocking and alarming to patrons, especially since the public views libraries as an institution that respects and maintains privacy. Patrons provide their personal information to us with the expectation that it be used under certain circumstances, such as automatic account notices within Polaris. Best practice is to never assume that patrons have opted in to receiving other communication from the library, unless they have expressly done so by signing up for a newsletter. Here are some tips to ensure compliance with CASL according to fightspam.gc.ca:
    • Don't send messages without consent: For express consent, a customer must have said, verbally or in writing, “Yes, please contact me.” If you have implied consent because of an existing relationship with the recipient, ensure you maintain complete records and respect the time limits for implied consent as set out in CASL. For example, a patron has contacted you first, you have evidence of this contact, and you are responding within a reasonable time limit and for the purposes of satisfying the reason for their inquiry.
    • Make sure you provide an opportunity for customers and clients to say no to your commercial electronic messages (e.g., via an unsubscribe button).
    • Clearly identify yourself and your organization.
  • Resources: 


  • March 2020 statistics are available. Not surprisingly, there was a big jump in eResources usage; some highlights comparing February to March include:
    • hoopla: 2,290 to 4,521
    • OverDrive: 14,698 to 16,621
    • CloudLibrary: 3,490 to 5,296
    • PressReader: 3,928 to 8,026
    • RB Digital magazines: 5,173 to 8,070
  • Additionally, 6,920 patron memberships were renewed in March – that is not including new sign ups!
  • Looking at the stats for the websites, system-wide, there has been a 33% increase in the number of users accessing your websites and a 29% increase in the number of pages viewed.

April online training opportunities

  • YRL Library Development Services Librarians will be hosting several live, online training opportunities in April on topics such as Simply Reports, Collection Development, Polaris LEAP, LibraryAware, and more.  Starting next week, we will also be hosting weekly live, coffee catch-ups – an opportunity for you to (virtually) meet with other YRL library managers and YRL staff to ask questions and share information.
  • Although we can’t visit you in person, YRL staff are also available for one-on-one virtual training on a variety of topics.  Contact askyrl@yrl.ab.ca for more information and to set up a time to meet.

March 31

Polaris update

  • Patron cards with expiration dates between April 1 and April 31, 2020 have been extended until May 31, 2020.

Polaris Leap training

  • Marigold Library System is offering their online training to other TRAC libraries and their focus in April is Leap. NOTE: You must have permissions to use Leap outside of the library; if you do not have those permissions (or do not know), please email Stephanie at sthero@yrl.ab.ca.
    • Session: Leap – Circulation Basics Learn the ins and outs of circulating library materials using LEAP.
    • Session: Leap – Patron Accounts Learn all about patron accounts in LEAP, including view, edit, renewing patron registration; registering new patrons; patron block and notes; fines, claims and lost items; holds and notices; reading history; and associations,
    • Session: Leap – Searching for Materials and Placing Holds Topics include using the Find Tool and search filters, bibliographic and item records, placing and grouping holds.

Keeping your spirits up and guarding your mental fitness

March 30

Webinar: Library Emergencies - Doing the Right Things When Things Go Wrong

  • Tuesday, March 31, 2:00-3:00 p.m. MST: This webinar looks at library life through the eyes of protecting your facility, your staff and your patrons from real harms, and discusses your response to low likelihood events with highly catastrophic consequences versus higher likelihood events that can cause a lot of headaches. Register online ($98/person).

Emergency planning and business continuity for municipalities

Free yoga: down dog

Online mini-conference: Small, Rural, and Independent Libraries

  • Wednesday, June 17, 12:00-4:00 MST: This mini-conference will focus on innovation and innovative thinking in rural, independent, tribal, and other small libraries, as well as the many unique challenges that they face. Register online (free).

March 27


  • We are starting to hear comments regarding supports to residents who do not have internet (or stable internet) at home and how they can be supported to access the provincial and federal government programs if the application is online. Today Employment and Social Development Canada released the following: “To support access to critical programs and services for clients without access to technology, Service Canada Community Outreach and Liaison Service staff are contacting communities to offer alternate service delivery methods that will continue to support accessing critical programs, services and benefits.”

Cybersecurity at home

  • Starting Monday, YRL will be sharing key tips about how to work securely from home. In the interim, Stephanie highly recommends you subscribe to (or at least have a look at) the OUCH! Newsletter, a monthly security awareness newsletter developed by the SANS Security Awareness team, that is useful for everyone. Check out their Digital Spring Cleaning article – something we should all be able to do with this extra time we have. If you want to learn more, register for the Spring Has Sprung! Time for a Digital Spring Cleaning webinar hosted by the National Cyber Security Alliance and the Better Business Bureau on April 14 from 11:00 a.m. to noon (MST).

From The Alberta Library (TAL)

  • LearnAlberta changed the login for the Online Reference Centre (ORC) so that it is geolocated for the moment. All students/parents/guardians/teachers across Alberta should be able to access it without an issue.
  • TAL is fielding calls from customers who are concerned about renewing their library material (they somehow get to TAL first). On behalf of public libraries, TAL is telling them to hang on to the items until libraries reopen, and not to worry about the fines or due dates.
  • TAL is adding free professional development ideas to their website and are currently developing an Indigenous Resources section. Please email Karla if there is something you would find useful.
  • National Geographic is offering free access to their special Coronavirus coverage.

March 26

Watch your email for... 

  • A message from Stephanie Thero (sthero@yrl.ab.ca) on how to work from home – and be cybersecure.


  • We have had a number of libraries asking to provide funds to increase OverDrive and/or cloudLibrary purchases – thank you!!!!! If you have questions about this or would like to allocate funds, please email askyrl@yrl.ab.ca (then everything is in one place and we won’t lose anything!).
  • hoopla has just announced 1,100 additional titles to their catalogue (okay, that part isn’t news). What IS news is that these titles are part of their ‘bonus borrows’ collection – customers will NOT be debited borrows from their monthly allotment. Check our Facebook and Twitter accounts for hoopla promotional posts you can share.

Information for employers and staff

Federal programs 

  • Demonstrating how quickly things are changing... after yesterday’s update was sent, the federal government announced changes to their COVID-19 response funding. In particular, the new Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) will provide a taxable benefit of $2,000 a month for up to four months.
  • The CERB will be accessible through a secure web portal starting in early April. Applicants will also be able to apply via an automated telephone line or via a toll-free number.
  • Additionally, workers who are still employed, but are not receiving income because of disruptions to their work situation due to COVID-19, would also qualify for the CERB. This would help businesses keep their employees as they navigate these difficult times, while ensuring they preserve the ability to quickly resume operations as soon as it becomes possible.

March 25

Provincial library operating grants 

  • All library nodes were told today via a conference call that the provincial operating grants for libraries are secure; the government is currently developing a process to release the funds.

Training materials 

  • A tutorial has been developed on the various options available for organizing and running virtual meetings; this tutorial can be found on our Training page.
  • Thank you to those who have reached out to us already for weeding support! We are happy to help you virtually and we will have additional training for weeding posted on our training page by the end of this week.

They love you! They really love you!! 

  • As the webform rolls out, we’re seeing an influx of new cards and card renewals! As of 3:00 p.m. today, YRL staff have issued 27 new cards and 37 renewals.
    • As we get juvenile card requests without guardian details, we will be sending that back requesting the full information.
  • Libraries in the United Kingdom are now contacting us asking for OverDrive support!

Federal government initiatives (as we know them to be) 

  • The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has a Helping Canadians with the economic impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic page to provide information on programs and services including.
    • Emergency Support Benefit: Support for workers who are not eligible for Employment Insurance (EI) and who are facing unemployment.
    • Temporary Wage Subsidy for Employers: A new program intended to support employers: non-profit organizations, charities, and some private corporations. These employers, effective immediately, reduce remittances of federal, provincial or territorial income tax paid to the CRA.

Communities of support 

March 24


  • We will be purchasing additional content for OverDrive and cloudLibrary. HUGE thanks to the member libraries who have asked if they could contribute funds as well.


  • We have ‘assigned’ member public libraries to specific staff at YRL who will be calling you about once a week, just to check in. Please don’t hesitate to call or contact us if you have questions, or just need to talk!
    •  If you are calling, please leave a message on the main line voicemail as it is checked regularly throughout the day. 780-962-2003 or toll free 1-877-962-2003, press zero when the message starts which will transfer you to the main line voicemail.
    • For email, you can send it directly to your contact or to askyrl@yrl.ab.ca.

March 23

New cards/card renewals 

  • If you would like a form on your website for customers to fill out, for a new card or card renewal, email askyrl@yrl.ab.ca
  • If you would like us to manage the new card/card renewal issuing process for you, email askyrl@yrl.ab.ca. We ask that you please allow 48 hours turn-around time, depending on volume.  

Request: Online programming 

  • If you are doing any online programming, please keep track of the numbers you are getting, and if you can – the reach of the program. Did you have participants from outside your municipality? Outside of Alberta? Outside of Canada? 
  • Please let us know if you are also doing online programs in languages other than English (no pressure) 

Online Reference Centre

  • TAL has announced that they were successful in getting LearnAlberta and the vendors to agree to temporary access to the Online Reference Centre Content. TAL is working with LearnAlberta on developing a temporary login and will inform us when it is ready to go.  Stay tuned for more resources to support Alberta students!  

Professional Development 

  • NOTE!!! ALC has officially been cancelled for this year. Any registration amounts you have paid, will be refunded. Jasper Park Lodge will be refunding any deposits made on the rooms.  

Online professional development opportunities: 

  • Library 2.0 presents Libraries stepping up! Serving the needs of communities in crisis. Thursday, March 26, 11:00 am - 4:30 pm Mountain Time (four one-hour sessions with one 30-minute break).
    • Registration: To register for the mini-conference, join Library 2.0. Those who are already members of Library 2.0 do not need to do anything. The schedule with the live session links will be sent to all Library 2.0 members the day prior to the event. You can also attend the conference by logging in to this site and there will be links on the main page to follow. The mini-conference platform is Zoom. To make sure your computer or mobile is configured for Zoom, please visit zoom.us/test.
  • African Library and Information Associations and Institutions’ Suite of COVID-19 Resources for Librarians is a collection of online/mobile reading platforms, more resources for students, links to Massive Open Online Courses, tools to create digital content, and more.

HR Questions 

  • If your Board needs to meet, let us help you set up a virtual meeting (Google Hangouts, GoToMeeting, Whereby, etc.). Email askyrl@yrl.ab.ca with the participants’ names and emails and, of course, the date and time of your meeting (please allow us 24 hours notice minimum). 

March 20

  • Click here to view a recording of a recent webinar on COVID-19 workplace implications. Although Ontario-focused, YRL member libraries may find information in this webinar helpful. Alternatively, you can read the transcript

March 19

  • Library delivery services, including government courier, have been shut down. YRL is not able to move items between libraries and systems until further notice.
  • Any item with a status of Out as of Wed., Mar, 19 had its due date extended to May 15, 2020. This does not apply to eResources (e.g. eBooks).
  • Items with a status of Held as of Wed., Mar. 19 had its held til date extended to May 15, 2020. 
  • All hold requests with a status of Active with expiration dates between Mar. 18 and Dec. 31, 2020 have been extended to Dec. 31, 2021.
  • Patron records with an expiration date between Mar. 1 and Mar. 31, 2020 regardless of standing were extended to May 31, 2020. Depending how long libraries are closed, we may have to do another bulk update for cards expiring in April. 
  • As no one will be able to fill holds, placing holds has been disabled and holds routing is stopped, we’ve removed YRL libraries as a pickup location so that people don’t think that they’ll be able to pick up holds. 
  • Email, text and telephone notifications have been turned off to minimize patron confusion.
  • Do not access Leap or SimplyReports from a personal device. 
New cards/card renewals
  • If you would like a form on your website for customers to fill out, for a new card or card renewal, email askyrl@yrl.ab.ca.
  • If you would like us to manage the new card/card renewal issuing process for you, email askyrl@yrl.ab.ca. Allow 48 hours turn-around time.
  • On Mar. 19, we increased hoopla checkouts to 10 per month. We will reassess this in April based on use and volume.
  • We will increase OverDrive and Cloud Library purchases.
  • Don’t forget about the Read Alberta eBooks collection! There are often fewer holds on titles accessed through here.
  • Email askyrl@yrl.ab.ca if you need assistance with waiving fines so that customers can access eResources.
Wireless Internet
  • We removed the library barcode and PIN authentication for the Library Wireless WiFi network. 
  • We will be touching base with library staff regularly as things progress by phone or email. Please keep in touch with us as well through askyrl@yrl.ab.ca or call and leave a message at 780-962-2003/1-877-962-2003, press zero.
  • Visit our website for updates, recommendations and changes.
  • Training and resource videos are available.
  • If you need your website updated, email the details to wsfl@yrl.ab.ca.
  • If your board needs to meet, let us help you set up a virtual meeting (Google Hangouts, GoToMeeting, Whereby, etc.). Email askyrl@yrl.ab.ca with the participants’ names and emails and, of course, the date and time of your meeting (please allow us 24 hours notice minimum).
  • PLSB reminds us all that the libraries should be completely closed to the public. Please do not stay open to serve target groups or book appointments for people to come in and use computers or browse the collection.

March 31

Polaris update

  • Patron