Updates: Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Last updated: Tuesday, March 31 at 2:00pm.

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Due to the rapidly changing status of the COVID-19 coronavirus, parts of this post may be outdated.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 until April 30, 2020 as a precaution to help limit the spread of COVID-19.
  • Effective Wednesday, March 18 at 5:00pm, all branch and community Book Drops are closed.
  • Effective Thursday, March 19 at 3:00pm, 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 Library programs planned for March, April, and May 2020 have been cancelled. Any additional changes will be communicated here.

Private room bookings
All cancelled room bookings will be refunded in full. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and make a decision about external bookings after April 30th in the coming days. Updates will be communicated here.

Tax clinics
All income tax appointments are cancelled. The Library is working with the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program to determine if we can offer sessions at a later time. We are sorry for the inconvenience and will provide an update as soon as we have more information.

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: Effective 5:00pm on Wednesday, March 18, all branch and community Book Drops will be 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.) With the planned reopening of Library locations set for April 30, 2020, borrowers will have three weeks after this date to return physical items currently on loan. Should the Library need to remain closed for a longer period of time, all of these due dates will be extended further. Updates will be communicated here.
  • Fines: No late fees will be accrued for the duration of this closure, or the three weeks after the planned reopening on April 30, 2020.
  • Holds on physical items: Effective 3:00pm on Thursday, March 19, the ability to place holds on physical​ items (books, instruments, etc.) from our website catalogue will be deactivated. Due to the closure of all locations, the Library needs to prevent our system from being overloaded when we reopen. This will ensure we are able to get back up and running as efficiently as possible. During this time, you will 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."
  • Current holds: All holds previously placed on physical items will be honoured. Holds that have already arrived at our branches will be available for one week when we reopen. We recommend you look at your current holds and make use of the "Pause" function on any items you may want to alter.
  • Interlibrary Loans: Interlibrary Loans are currently suspended, as we and the majority of our partners are closed. 

  • Suggestions for Purchase: While we are closed, we have paused the "Suggestion for Purchase" option in your account.

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 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 Blog: Library staff provide resources and ideas for staying connected

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 cyber security 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.