Tri-City libraries push online offerings during COVID-19 closure

Libraries in Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody have a variety of web-based services, from streaming subscriptions to eBooks, audiobooks and online courses

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The doors of their branches may be locked but virtual libraries are still open for business in the Tri-Cities.

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Library card holders can access a wide range of online resources, including eBooks, audiobooks, news sites, magazines and streaming videos to help them get through the COVID-19 pandemic, said Todd Gnissios, the executive director of Coquitlam Public Library.

“We are hoping to see a spike in [online] usage,” he told The Tri-City News. “That is my expectation.”

Some of the services, like Kanopy streaming, have removed restrictions to allow unlimited viewing of kids' shows for young people who may be having trouble adjusting to the new self-quarantine realities. 

There are also thousands of online tutorials and courses through lynda.com teaching everything from software design to language skills.

“If your trip to France was cancelled, get online to our language learning products and you can spend the next month learning French so when you do get to France, you have some language skills,” Gnissios said. 

All of the programs can be accessed with a library card. Coquitlam residents without a card can register online at www.coqlibrary.ca. 

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FOR MORE INFORMATION

Coquitlam: www.coqlibrary.ca

Port Moody: www.portmoodylibrary.ca

Port Coquitlam: www.fvrl.bc.ca

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The library will be monitoring the online usage as more people self quarantine and spend their time at home, Gnissios added.

Some of the services are subscription-based and the library needs to make sure it has the budget to keep the offerings available. 

For example, Gnissios said CPL allots $45,000 for hoopladigital.com, a streaming service, which is enough to cover normal use. But he is unsure what to expect in terms of views during the pandemic and said staff will be monitoring the situation closely.

“We want people to be at home self isolating,” he said. “We will put the resources in there as much as we can and we will definitely be adding more resources if we see the need.”

People with Port Moody or Terry Fox library cards can also take advantage of online offerings.

Kimberley Constable, the manager of Terry Fox Library in Port Coquitlam, reminded residents that the full digital collection is currently available at www.fvrl.ca. 

“We have doubled borrowing and streaming limits for our most popular eBook, audiobook and streaming services, including Overdrive, RBDigital, Kanopy and AcornTV,” she said. 

She added that the library is working to provide online card registration, which is not currently available in Port Coquitlam. 

“We know there is a very high demand for this in our communities,” she said, noting updates on their progress would be available at www.fvrl.ca. “FVRL continues to be here to support our communities in these unprecedented times.”

Marc Saunders, the executive director of Port Moody Public Library, said PMPL does not yet have numbers on how many people are taking advantage of the available eBooks and audiobooks but said there are resources online that people may not be aware of. 

“EBook vendors are providing free access to a number or resources,” he said. “We will be promoting these resources [as soon as possible]."

Read more of our COVID-19 coverage here.

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