The last library board meeting prior to the summer was held on June 9. /Screenshot from HCPL board meeting

Provincial inter-library loan resumes

By Sue Tiffin

The following are brief reports of items from a June 9 meeting of the Haliburton County Public Library board.

The Haliburton County Public Library has resumed the provincial inter-library loan service, which allows Haliburton County residents to request and have delivered materials from outside the HCPL’s collection, after nearly two years of being suspended.

As reported in the Echo in 2019, that spring’s provincial budget included a 50 per cent funding reduction to the Southern Ontario Library Service (SOLS) which operated the inter-library loan program and which ceased the service immediately in mid-April that year.

The inter-library loan system allowed the Haliburton County Public Library, which has a relatively small collection, to supply patrons with materials from outside of the county – those materials brought to local branches by van. The cancellation of the service led to widespread public outcry among library users throughout the province.

“This meant that instead of the SOLS courier delivering and picking up two times a week, we needed to implement a process and budget to use our own staff and Canada Post for package delivery and pick up,” said Anna Babluck, acting HCPL CEO, in a report to the board.

The service had resumed in March 2020, but soon after the pandemic – and the first provincial lockdown – began. It has remained suspended due to staffing and pandemic restrictions but was restarted at the beginning of June.
“The service is being offered on a smaller scale than it had been when the SOLS courier was running,” reads the report. “With HCPL absorbing the postal cost and the extra staff time, there have been some limits put in place for both borrowing and lending. Once the process has been up and running for a few months, the limits may be adjusted as we see the impact on staff time and the budget.”

Library card registrations
Since March 2020 when the HCPL’s online library card registration opened, 385 new cardholders have become library patrons.

Libraries remain closed but still offering programs and materials
Curbside pickup remains an option at most HCPL branches.

“Under Ontario’s Roadmap to Reopen, the soonest library branches could reopen is July 5, but as that date is subject to change, no plans to reopen have been made yet,” reads Babluck’s report.

Virtual programs including Maker Breaks, Storytime with Robster and Lobster in the Reading Lagoon, Tech Time, Minden and Wilberforce library book clubs and Algonquin Highlands Writers Group are available online free of charge, while Grab and Go craft and seed library kits and Maker Kits are available via curbside pickup.

The TD Summer Reading Club opened online June 15 at and an Ontario Park passes program began mid-June. Visit for more information.