The Perth and District Union Public Library is pleased to share its 2020 Annual Report. What a year it’s been! 2020, the year of the COVID-19 pandemic – but the library rose to the challenge, providing the connections and services that the community needed. After the initial pandemic shutdown in March, the library has cycled through offering curbside pickup, to computer access, to opening for browsing, and back to curbside again.

The library continues to provide an important lifeline and is an essential community facility.

“Your continued cheerfulness, your smiles and your unbelievable help during this difficult time has been priceless!”

“Wow.  We are so rich. Your library services are amazing! Thank you so much!”

“I so much appreciate the Library service as I am at home all winter, not only with COVID lockdowns, but my husband is very ill and I can’t leave him alone.”

It is a vibrant community hub that draws people together and inspires community connections. The library averaged 83,500 visits annually over the past two years. Even in a year with multiple COVID-19 shutdowns, in 2020, our community members visited the library over 46,000 times to use computers, meeting rooms, and borrow over 100,000 books, eBooks, and more.

It is a place for all ages: seniors whose only personal contact in a day might be the library staff; parents and children visiting, reading, and picking out books together; teens hanging out after school. The lockdown created many challenges for our community and library users: lack of social contact, virtual schooling for children, and services shifting online. The services the library was able to provide both digitally and in-person helped our community members to face these challenges.

“We are so grateful for your assistance during this time. I’ve noticed such an improvement in –‘s literacy”

If you’re on a limited income, there is a significant value in the access the library offers to technology and books. The library bridges the digital divide by providing Internet access, lending laptops, hotspots, and more, and helps people learn how to use technology through tutoring programs. In a recent survey, 87% of respondents said that the public library was their only point of access to the technology service(s) that they used and 60% of respondents indicated at least some increase in their level of digital comfort.

To learn more, I encourage you to visit www.perthunionlibrary.ca/2020-annual-report/.

Sincerely,
Carol Rigby

Chair of the Perth & District Union Public Library Board

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