Updates: Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Last updated: Thursday, May 21 at 2:37 pm - tax clinics, and "Borrowing, loans, and fines" section. 

This page will be updated as decisions are made that may affect Library service.

Due to the rapidly changing status of the COVID-19 coronavirus, parts of this post may be outdated. For the latest public health and information and directives from government, please visit these resources:

  • Government of Canada: Information regarding outbreak updates; prevention and risks; symptoms and treatments; awareness resources; preparedness and travel advice; and guidance for health professionals, communities and individuals. It also provides a pop-up COVID-19 virtual assistant.
  • Province of Nova Scotia: A gateway to the Government of Nova Scotia’s COVID-19 updates, resources and supports.
  • Halifax Regional Municipalityopens a new window: A gateway to the Halifax COVID-19 updates and information about specific municipal services.
  • World Health Organization
  • 811 Health Link:opens a new window The recommended self-assessment tool to use before calling 811 and a source for trustworthy health information.
  • If you are looking for more information on COVID-19, please call the Government of Canada's novel coronavirus information line: 1-833-784-4397.

Status of Library service

  • All branches of Halifax Public Libraries will be closed indefinitely as a precaution to help limit the spread of COVID-19. Rather than specifying a firm opening date, we will continue to monitor all recommendations from government to decide when our branches can safely reopen. Updates will be communicated here.
  • All branch and community Book Drops are closed.
  • The ability to place new holds on physical items has been deactivated. Read more below.

Throughout this situation, the safety and well-being of our employees and community members continues to be our number one priority. The Library will monitor recommendations from the Government of Nova Scotia and Canadian Public Health Agency of Canada to determine if an extension to the closure period is required.

Stay Connected

All in-person Library events have been cancelled until the end of August 2020, unless otherwise communicated. 

While our in-person events have been cancelled, we have begun to offer Virtual Libraryopens a new window events to connect with our community throughout branch closures. Check out the "What's On" section at the top of any page to view events and Virtual Library at-home activities for Kids, Teens, and Adults.

The Library is exploring ways to host events in outdoor spaces and larger indoor spaces where physical distancing is possible. Please check back for updates. 

Private room bookings
All room bookings have been cancelled until the end of August 2020. All cancelled room bookings will be refunded in full.  As we continue to monitor the situation over the coming weeks, a member of our staff will be in contact with you soon about your room booking.

Tax clinics
If you have registered for an income tax appointment at the Library but the appointment was cancelled due to all Library locations closing, we will be in contact with you very soon to reschedule. Income tax clinics are in partnership with the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP).

Borrowing, loans, and fines

  • Get a card: Residents of Nova Scotia can register here for a temporary, digital library card. This will give you access to our collection and E-Library tools. When we reopen, you can visit us in person to get your physical library card.
  • Book drops: All branch and community Book Drops are closed. We ask that you do not try to return items at this time or leave them outside the Book Drops. Keep them with you and you can return them when we reopen.
  • Extended loan periods: Halifax Public Libraries has extended all loan periods for physical items (books, instruments, etc.) Borrowers will have three weeks after the Library reopens to return physical items currently on loan. Updates will be communicated here. 
  • Fines: No late fees will be accrued for the duration of this closure, or the three weeks after the Library reopens. 
  • Suggestions for Purchase: While we are closed, we have paused the "Suggestion for Purchase" option in your account.
  • Interlibrary Loans: Interlibrary Loans are currently suspended, as we and the majority of our partners are closed.
  • Home Delivery or Borrow By Mail: We are not currently accepting new applications for Home Delivery or Borrow By Mail. At this time, we are considering how to re-establish some level of service to existing users of Home Delivery and Borrow By Mail. We hope to offer these services to new users in the near future. 

Current Holds and Curbside Pickup

All holds previously placed on physical items will be honoured. 

The ability to place new holds on physical items (books, instruments, etc.) from our website is still deactivated. We have begun piloting Curbside Pickup at two locations while we establish the service before offering it at other locations. The initial phase of Curbside Pickup will be to distribute current items that are on hold and are currently located at the pilot Library location. The ability to place new holds on physical items will be introduced at a later date.​

During this time, you still have the ability to add titles to your “For Later” shelf, or other shelves you’ve created. When physical item holds are reinstated, you’ll be able to scroll through your shelves and easily place each of your saved titles on hold, one by one. Learn more about using "My Shelves."opens a new window

Curbside Pickup is being piloted at Sheet Harbour Public Library and Woodlawn Public Library. If you are waiting for a hold and it is located at either of these locations, a Library staff member will be in contact with you about picking up your item(s). 
As our Curbside Pickup service is new, our goal is to ensure this service is well established and tested before offering at other locations. We’re trying, testing, and learning, with safety as a top priority in all of our decisions. 
Our Curbside Pickup service will grow to other Library locations very soon. 

Public health and safety

Throughout this situation, the safety and wellbeing of our employees, community members, and volunteers is our number one priority. We will continue to serve our community and employees however we can while adhering to recommendations from all levels of government.

How you can keep yourself and others safe

  • Follow Government of Nova Scotia directives regarding COVID-19.
  • Cover your mouth with a tissue or your upper sleeve when coughing or sneezing.
  • Discard used tissues immediately.
  • Wash your hands often for at least 20 seconds with soap and water or use a hand sanitizer that is 60–90% alcohol-based.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Practice social distancing. As per government recommendations, stay home if you can. Maintain an optimal six-foot distance from others.
  • Support one another, be kind and stay informed. Your Library is here to help.

Library resources you can access from home

  • E-Books
  • Audiobooks
  • E-Library (online resources and tools like Lynda.com, TumbleBooks, and hoopla video streaming)
  • Endless Ideas: Library staff provide resources and ideas for staying connected, for all age groups

Trusted resources

The following are resources and useful tools to educate yourself, family, and friends on COVID-19.

Health information

Employment and benefits services

Support for small businesses

During this time of uncertainty, our Small Business team is thinking of you. We have pulled together a list of resourcesopens a new window available for small businesses to help you stay informed and seek support.

Beware of scams and misinformation

  • The World Health Organization has a dedicated page listing potential scams seeking to steal money or sensitive information from people. Improve your cybersecurity by reading the WHO’s information and tips.
  • Debunking myths: The World Health Organization has a dedicated pageopens a new window debunking common myths related to COVID-19. 

Talking to children

Need help talking to your kids about COVID-19?

Mental health

The terms outbreak, epidemic, global health emergency, and quarantine often can be trigger words for many people creating anxiety, depression, fear, and distrust.