Back to Top

Library Services and Public Health Measures, Safety Plan

Library Services are being maintained with buildings at 50% capacity as part of the Modified Step 2 Reopening Ontario framework.


Library Services

bookshelf icon.

Browse Displays and Library Shelves

You may browse the shelves in addition to displays featuring high-interest items from our collections, including adult fiction, movies and TV series, picture books and easy readers, non-fiction and biographies, French materials, and many more.

library card icon.

Self-Serve Holds and Holds Pick-Up

Pick-up your holds in branch and check out with staff at the desk or at one of the self-serve kiosks.

Studying icon.

Study Tables

Study tables are available for use at reduced seating capacity. We ask that you only sit with small groups at each table.

Children's area icon.

Children's Areas

The children’s areas are open for use. Please maintain physical distancing of 6 ft/2m in the play area. We kindly ask you to clean your hands before and after using the space.

The building blocks have been temporarily removed.

computer icon.

Computer Access

Walk-in to use the computers, no appointments required. Computers are available on a first-come, first served basis. Printing, scanning, and photocopying facilities are available at all locations.

Members are permitted to bring their own devices for computer access in branch and set-up at the study tables throughout the branch.

clock icon.

Library Hours

The Bowmanville, Courtice, and Newcastle Branches are open seven days a week. Evening hours are available at all four branches.

Please see our Locations & Hours page for more information, including branch capacity limits.

Museum Services

As per the Modified Step 2 regulations, the Museum & Archives will be closed to the public. Please see the Museums & Archives website for information regarding virtual services.


General Health Measures and Safety Plan – Roadmap to Reopen, Modified Step 2

The public health regulations implemented by the Ontario government in Durham Region include a range of restrictions affecting our operations. We will continue to monitor changes in public health regulations and will adjust this Safety Plan as required to ensure the safety of both our staff and customers.

Please see the Government of Ontario’s COVD-19 Public Health Measures and Advice and website for more information.

What you Need to Know before Visiting

If you are interested in using our in-person services, here is what you need to know:

  • Take the COVID-19 self-assessment. If you have symptoms or may have been exposed to COVID-19, please stay at home and do not visit the Library.
  • Wear a 3 layer mask or face covering while inside as per the Durham Region Medical Officer of Health Instructions. Learn more about the Library's policy on COVID-19 – Screening & Face Coverings.
  • Everyone who enters the building to access Library services will be passively screened through the use of signage posted at the entrances.
  • If you are accessing the Outreach Community Hub or Videoconferencing services, you will be required to provide contact tracing information and be actively screened.
    • Staff on-site will complete the active screening and contact tracing. You may also complete the provincial COVID-19 customer screening tool, and show staff the results on your mobile device. If you answer yes to any of the COVID-19 Symptoms, you will be denied entry.
  • Practice physical distancing and keep a distance of 6 feet or 2 metres from others.
  • Each branch is monitoring its occupancy capacity adhering to the 50% capacity; you may have to wait in line outside the branch before you are permitted to enter. Once inside, remember to maintain a 6 feet (2 metres) physical distance.  As a courtesy to other members, we encourage you to keep your visit brief and not to stay longer than necessary. Please see our website for the occupancy capacity of each branch.
  • Wash or sanitize your hands often, including before and after touching materials. Hand sanitizer is available in branch and our public washrooms are open and available for use.
  • Full access to the branch is open with reductions in seating areas.

Safety Precautions

With the availability of in-branch services, the health and safety of our staff and our members continues to be our top priority.

The reinstatement of our services follows:

  • The reopening framework provided by the Province of Ontario; and
  • The advice of Ontario Public Health regarding best practices within library, museum, and retail industries.

Here are some of the measures we have put in place:

  • Staff are screened prior to entering the workplace.
  • All staff have been issued and wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) while handling materials and offering public service.
  • Staff have been trained and follow hand hygiene protocols.
  • Hand sanitizer is available to members during their visit.
  • Enhanced cleaning of high-touch surfaces occurs regularly during opening hours.
  • Branches receive a full cleaning nightly.
  • Library branches have appropriate physical distancing protocols in place. Plexiglass is in place at the customer service desks.
  • Computer workstations are two metres apart to ensure physical distancing measures. Workstations are sanitized regularly throughout the day.
  • To help keep you safe, we are monitoring occupancy capacity at our branches and limiting the number of people inside to 50% capacity
  • Everyone is asked to help stop the spread of germs by following proper hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette.
  • We will follow the directives of Durham Region Health Department (DRHD) or Ontario Public Health of staff diagnosed with COVID-19 or exposed to high-risk contact to someone with COVID-19, and we will cooperate fully with their investigation.
  • Should a staff member become ill at work, we will follow protocols to ensure they receive the proper care, including following self-isolation and disinfecting procedures and follow applicable Public Health directives.
  • Should a member of the public become ill at the Library, we will follow protocols to ensure they receive the proper care and follow disinfecting procedures and follow all applicable Public Health directives.

COVID-19 Resources

We encourage you to stay informed about COVID-19 by referring to credible sources of information such as Durham Region's website, the Province of Ontario’s website, and Public Health Ontario.


Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Who can come into the Library?
  2. How do I order items?
  3. How do I pick-up my items?
  4. Do I have to wear a mask?
  5. Can I browse the shelves?
  6. Are you still quarantining items?
  7. What safety precautions are in place?
  8. May I come in to use a computer or the washroom?
  9. May I eat or drink in the Library?
  10. I signed up for an eCard, can I still order books?
  11. How can I pay my Library fines?
  12. What about Book Club in a Bag Kits? May I return them? May I borrow more?
  13. I have items that are on hold, but I don't want them right now. Can I keep my place for them and pick them up later?
  14. Are meeting rooms and study spaces available?

Have other questions or need further assistance? Contact us via email or phone at 905-623-7322 ext. 2712.

Who can come into the Library?

All members of the public are welcome in the Library to browse the shelves, pick-up holds, study, use the children’s area, or access a computer. To ensure physical distancing guidelines can be met, Library branches will have posted capacities, and you may have to wait for entry if a branch has reached capacity. We ask that those who are ill wait to visit the Library until they are well, and clear Ontario’s COVID-19 Self-Assessment.

How do I order items?

Place items on hold using the online Library catalogue, mobile app, or by phoning 905-623-7322 x2712 to speak with a staff member. Once you've placed the items on hold and selected the branch you would like for pick-up, you will receive an automated notification via phone, email, or text when your items are ready.

How do I pick-up my items?

All four branches in Bowmanville, Courtice, Newcastle, and Orono Branches have service hours available. An automated notification (phone, email, or text) will be generated when your items are available in your selected location. You will scan your Library card at the self-serve scanner or provide staff with a piece of identification, and staff will check out your items. 

Do I have to wear a mask?

As per Durham Public Health Guidelines, all visitors to the Library are required to wear a non-medical mask if they are able to do so.

Can I browse the shelves?

Yes! Access to browsing the full Library collection may continue.

Are you still quarantining items?

On the advice of public health agencies, we are no longer quarantining items that have been returned or used in-branch. If you would like to isolate your items at home for a period of time before enjoying them, please speak with staff about extending your loan periods.

What safety precautions are in place?

The safety of our community and staff are of the highest priority. All staff wear appropriate personal protective equipment while interacting with Library materials, and with our Library members at service points. Items that require additional attention for cleaning will receive it. Enhanced cleaning of high-touch surfaces (ex. computers, etc.) occurs regularly during open hours, with full cleaning of the branch every day.

May I come in to use a computer or the washroom?

Access to public washrooms and computer access, including access to printing, scanning, and photocopying facilities, is available during Modified Step 2 Roadmap to Reopen at the Bowmanville, Courtice, Newcastle, and Orono Branches.

May I eat or drink in the Library?

Eating and drinking is not permitted in the Library due to current health & safety restrictions.

I signed up for an eCard, can I still order books?

Absolutely! Those who have signed up for an eCard to access our services during closure may request to upgrade their eCard to place holds on items for pick-up. Please contact us by phone or email for information on how to upgrade your card. 

How can I pay my Library fines?

We can accept credit card payments for Library fines over the phone, or you may pay your fines using cash, debit, credit at the service desk. Please contact Member Services at 905-623-7322 x2712 during service hours for assistance with your account.

What about Book Club in a Bag Kits? May I return them? May I borrow more?

Yes, you will be able to return your Book Club in a Bag during regular service hours. You may also borrow new Book Club in a Bag Kits! Please visit the Book Club in a Bag page to make your reservation.

I have items that are on hold, but I don't want them right now. Can I keep my place for them and pick them up later?

If you have items that are coming available for you soon, but you are not ready to pick them up, you can suspend your hold. This will keep your place in line, but items will not come available until you are ready. Access your online Library catalogue to suspend your holds, or contact us for assistance with your account.  

Are meeting rooms and study spaces available?

Study tables are available for use at reduced seating capacity at all branches. We ask that you only sit with small groups at each table.

Meeting room bookings are not yet available. Please see our Videoconferencing page If you need to book a videoconference meeting.


Recent Updates

The Library will continue to issue updates regarding service plans and processes relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information on how COVID-19 closures have affected the Library services you know and enjoy, please see our Service Updates page.