Southeast Regional Library Re-Open Plan

Mandatory Masks


Update as of May 5th, 2021:

Balgonie, LumsdenPangman, Pilot Butte, Regina Beach, and White City branches are all in Stage 2 of our Re-Open Plan. Oxbow and Pangman have returned to Stage 4 of our Re-Open Plan.

All other branches are currently at Stage 4. 


Frequently Asked Questions

What is the schedule for the return of services?

Stage 1 (starting June 29):

  • Returns only – please use outside drop boxes and bins

Stage 2 (starting July 5):

  • Curbside pick-up of materials - holds may be placed on in-branch items only

Stage 3 (starting August 4):

  • Branches open to the public as governed by physical distancing and group size requirements
  • 1 public computer station will be open per branch
  • In-branch pickup and return of materials permitted
  • Curbside pickup still available
  • Holds and checkout limit raised to 50 each

Stage 4 (starting September 8):                                                                                                                                                   We are here

  • Branches open to the public as governed by physical distancing and group size requirements
  • 1 public computer station will be open per branch       
  • In-branch pickup and return of materials permitted
  • Curbside pickup still available
  • Browsing of the shelves permitted
  • Holds and checkout limit raised back to 100 each
  • Virtual programming begins  

Why are some library systems open but others are not?

There are many reasons why public libraries are returning to operation at different times:

  • Size: Most regional libraries have to coordinate the re-opening of 40-50 branches across a vast rural area.  This can require much more time than libraries like Regina and Saskatoon (9 branches each) or Moose Jaw and Prince Albert (1 branch each).  
  • Staff recall notices.  Some library systems laid off their staff, some did not, some only laid off part of their staff, some staff are unionized, others are not.  Each category requires a different response and timeline in terms of recall.
  • Collection and distribution of protective equipment.  Libraries had to coordinate the purchase and distribution of cleaning supplies and protective equipment for their staff plus provide direction on how to effectively implement these resources according to provincial and federal guidelines.  This was definitely not in anyone’s budget, planning or expertise so we’ve had to think quick to make it happen.
  • Municipal coordination.  Many libraries are in shared facilities such as a community center, school, or municipal office.  Coordination with local municipalities was necessary in order to ensure the library facility was able to be open.
  • Unique scenarios.  Public libraries were given significant latitude by their Ministry to make re-opening decisions that best fit their unique situation.  Northern libraries, for example, will be opening much later than libraries in the south because of the unfortunate surge in COVID-19 cases that happened in several northern communities.  Other municipalities took the opportunity to renovate the library which is delaying the re-opening of their services, others are awaiting trustee approval, etc.  

Taking all the above into consideration, nearly all Saskatchewan public libraries will be back to offering at least some services within 3-4 weeks of each other.  Given the magnitude of the situation and size of the province, that’s not too bad!  


Why are some library services available but other services are not?  

Library staff are returning to a job that is significantly different than the job they left back in March.  Staff will need time to adapt to new processes and policies for even basic services such as holds pick-ups and returns.

Gloves, restricted walkways, physical distancing, quarantining materials, cleaning, disinfecting, etc. have unexpectedly become important and necessary elements of library service.  This takes time and coordination for staff, patrons, collections, equipment and facilities to make adaptations.  Remember, smaller library branches that are only open a few hours per week will take longer to adapt to these new requirements than larger branches.  We are committed to moving ahead together and not leaving any branch or community behind.

In Southeast Regional Library it is our intent to resume all of our services as quickly, legally, and as safely as we can.


Will municipal or provincial governments be getting a refund from Southeast Regional Library because the library was closed to the public for several months?

Library funding has continued to be used for public library service during the pandemic.  For example:

  • Significant increases in spending on eBooks and eAudiobooks.
  •  New online databases were made available such as A to Z World Travel, A to Z World Food, Lingo LITE, Creativebug and Niche Academy.
  • Continued purchase and processing of library materials so new items are ready to go on the shelves upon reopening.
  • Purchase of cleaning supplies and protective equipment for library staff upon their return.
  • Library staff were continued to be paid for 4 weeks at the outset of the pandemic until federal and provincial aid packages were made available and they could transition to these financial supports.  
  •  Finally: in recognition of the challenges municipal governments will be facing in the post-pandemic period, Southeast Regional Library will not be seeking an increase in funding in 2021.  Any funds left unspent in 2020 due to library closures will be used to float the library through 2021 with no increase in financial contributions from municipal governments.  We hope this buys our municipal funders some breathing space as we face the “new normal” together. 


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Curbside Pickup is Still Available

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Curbside Pickup Instructions