The Arnprior Public Library is finding new ways of adapting to what they call the "next normal" because of COVID-19.
The library launched their new mobile delivery service Wednesday morning, named Curby.
Curby is a small camper renovated by the library to deliver materials like books and laptops. It has its own external power supply and a wifi hotspot to boot. The little library on wheels made its inaugural stop at Walter Zadow Public School in Arnprior.
"We used to go to the library on a weekly basis, and since COVID we haven’t been able to do that anymore," says Amy Dahm, Principal at Walter Zadow. The school was recently forced to renovate their library into another classroom due to the growing school population.
"The students looked forward to their weekly library visits and it was not just an opportunity to leave the school, but it was an opportunity to have an experience with Carolyn, the librarian," says Dahm.
"We are taking their wish lists, and we’re putting them together," says Karen Deluca, CEO of the Arnprior Library, about the delivery of books Curby made to the school. "We are bringing not only books to schools and seniors and curbside service out to the community, but also wifi on wheels."
If you can’t make it out to the @arnpriorlibrary, no worries, the library can come to you now! Today was Curby’s first day on the job. Curby can deliver materials like books and laptops, and even has a wifi hotspot. @ctvottawa pic.twitter.com/VYA50KFF8F— Dylan Dyson (@DylanDyson) November 4, 2020
Curby started out as a way of bringing the library’s resources out to the community who can no longer visit due to the pandemic. But with the ability to connect up to 60 different devices to Curby’s wifi hotspot, Deluca now has big plans for the small but mighty mobile library.
"We will be a hotspot to go out to events, parks, and be able to supplement those people who are not only working from home, but learning from home," says Deluca. "Come the summer we’ll be out at the campgrounds and the beaches, and we’ll be able to sign up people with library cards, and we’ll be able to offer that free wifi."
This year was suppose to be a celebration of the library’s 125th year in the community. Instead, Deluca used the funds saved for a year long celebration to help the library reconnect with its users.
"We still want to be that community hub," says Deluca. "We can’t necessarily do that with large gatherings and open mic’s and movie nights, and that sort of thing in the library. But we can be a community hub in the community."