Lately, school has been a whirlwind of chaos. And, of course, I mean that in the best possible way! But with intense and fast-moving coursework, demanding co-currics, and the extra sanitary precautions, it’s hard to find time to sit back and do the things we really enjoy doing. For me, that “thing” is borrowing a new book from the library and not looking up until I finish it. But with COVID-19 lurking around every corner, it’s near impossible to do anything the way we used to – including the process of borrowing and returning books.
Schools across the north shore have been addressing this problem in different ways. Some, like our neighbour Sentinel Secondary, are business as usual; in these schools, you’re able to go into the library at any time to borrow books. On the opposite side of the spectrum, Carson Graham Secondary’s library is completely closed for the time being, meaning students are only able to borrow ebooks and audiobooks online. Collingwood is somewhere in between: we can borrow books online, and we can also put in holds to have the physical copies of books delivered directly to us. After these books are returned to the library, they’re also quarantined for 48 hours afterwards – unless there’s another hold on the book, in which case the books are wiped down and circulated in the next 24 hours.
And now, with all of the smaller details of borrowing books figured out and squared away, one issue still remains: How many people are taking advantage of the library’s new system?
Unsurprisingly, the number of online books borrowed through the ISABC’s shared library has increased since last year. In the calendar year of 2019, there were 5,400 checkouts in the shared collection – this year, it’s over 11,400 and counting! Of course, this does make sense as the pandemic started early this year and physical facilities had slowly but surely begun to shut down since as far back as February.
As for physical copies, you may be surprised to find out that the number of books borrowed in person has also increased since last year. So far this school year, 429 physical books have been borrowed from the library; a clear increase from the 397 borrowed in the months of September and October combined last year.
Literature is a way for students to escape from the stresses of daily life, if only for a few pages. It’s important for us as students to avoid burnout and take care of our own mental well beings – especially with a virus like COVID-19 rearing its ugly head during our high school years. That’s why it’s more crucial now than ever to be able to have resources like the Morven Bahadur-Karim library at our disposal. We owe the librarians a great debt of gratitude!