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Past Updates

September 15, 2020

Campus libraries to re-open using pandemic model

On March 18, the Camosun Library closed its doors in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now six months later both campus libraries will be re-opening in a reduced capacity.

Interurban will be open for take-away service and textbook reserves, while Lansdowne will be open for take-away service, textbook reserves and limited computer/study tables for pre-booking.

“While our physical libraries have been closed, the library has been open online,” explains Sybil Harrison, Director of Learning Services at Camosun College. “Over the last six months we have continued to provide research supports to students and instructors through our chat-based help called AskAway and virtual appointments, mailed books and enhanced our digital content with new eBooks, ejournals and streaming video.”

The virtual library is robust, and there has been a resounding demand expressed by the college community for some library services in person.

“With the reopening of Lansdowne Library on Sept. 15 and Interurban Library on Sept. 21 our pandemic service model is complete, as we begin again to provide key services, which simply cannot be done online,” Sybil continues. “We worked hard over the summer preparing the library space for opening and rethinking all of our processes. Safety for our staff and students was our guiding principle and our main objective was to address the digital divide that the rapid adoption to remote delivery has presented. Many students and instructors prefer print, many books simply are not available in an eBook form and in reality, many students have a less than optimal study setup.”

The libraries will look different, but visitors can expect the same welcoming and caring environment. Masks are highly recommended, and the number of people in the library at any time is limited. A lot of work has gone into creating bigger spaces. Chairs have been removed and there are sanitizers located throughout. One-way directional signs are in place and access to the book stacks is limited to library staff. Food and drink are not allowed and socializing that was typical in the library is no longer allowed. Plexiglas shields have been installed at the service desk and new safety protocols for materials handling are in place.

The hardest thing for library staff is that the one-on-one in-person help the library was so well-known for cannot be safely provided. Instead students can use the various ways to access help or ask questions by mail, phone and AskAway.

Rather than just dropping by the library, students and instructors will have to plan ahead. With planning ahead before visiting, the libraries will be safe for staff working there and for students and instructors accessing the services.

The new take-away service makes borrowing easy. Books, DVDs, magazines and textbooks can all be requested for take-away. Just follow the link to Request Library Materials at Complete the form and then wait for an email telling you that your order is ready. Then it’s a simple grab and go. Materials will be waiting in a paper bag, already checked out. Returns are simple and safe too. Just drop items off in the book drops that are outside of the library buildings. Books drops are open 24/7. Mailing is still an option for people who cannot visit campus or those who prefer this convenience.

“One of our biggest challenges was to find a way to lend textbook reserves,” says Sybil. “We know many students relied on the short-quick-turnaround textbook reserve loans.” During the pandemic, hourly or even overnight loans are just not possible and all returns require a 72-hour quarantine. To meet this important student need, extra copies of high demand textbooks were purchased by the college, and the loan period has been extended. A student can borrow a book up to 70 hours, depending on when they come to pick it up.

“To make our pandemic response reserve system work students need to be prepared to pick up the item as soon as they receive the email telling them that it is ready and to return it on time,” says Sybil. “Reserves work best when everyone cooperates.” The Camosun Library does not charge overdue fees on most items, but a $10 a day overdue fee is necessary for reserve textbook which are in high demand. Sybil cautions, “Not all textbooks, for all courses are available. We are limited by what is available to purchase.”

COVID-19, has revealed that the assumption that everyone had the necessary bandwidth and computer to study online is simply not true. To help bridge the digital divide students will be able to book ahead for a daily 1.5 hour session at a computer or a study table with Wi-Fi access.

Booking is straightforward. Visit the library website and follow the Book a Workstation link. To maintain physical distancing, a strict one person to a work space rule is in place. There is only a limited number of study tables and computers, so students who have reasonable study space and internet access are asked to stay at home, and limit themselves to be on campus when they need quiet, distraction free work space to complete a project or study for an exam. 

“March 18 was a heart-breaking day for me,” says Sybil. “I never imagined that I would see the day that a campus library would need to close. Camosun libraries were busy vibrant places, the library was place on campus to collaborate and connect. It was important to me and the library team to bring back some part of that much needed service in the safest way possible. We are all really looking forward to welcoming the college community back to our libraries.”

With the cooperation of everyone and following a few simple tips, the libraries can once again be the one place on campus where students can learn, create and connect.

Five Tips for Using the Library

  • Plan ahead: Book a time to use a computer to study table at
  •  Order take-away and grab and go! Borrow books, DVDs and textbooks you need using the online order system
  • Come alone: At this time the library is not a social space. Fewer faces, bigger spaces is our goal when on campus. Keep to yourself in public.
  • Be safe: Stay home if you are feeling sick. Maintain physical distancing, wash your hands frequently and wear your mask when on campus in indoor areas.
  • Ask! We love questions. We know, that successful students reach out to the library for guidance and help.  Visit the library homepage  to be in touch.

What You Need to Know

Interurban (Sept. 21)
Open for:

  • Take-away service
  • Textbook reserves

Interurban opening hours:
Monday           10am to 2pm
Tuesday           10am to 2pm
Wednesday     2pm to 6pm
Thursday         10am to 2pm
Friday              10am to 2pm

Lansdowne (Sept. 15)
Open for:

  • Take-away service
  • Textbook reserves
  • Computer/study table for pre-booking

Lansdowne opening hours:
Monday           9am to 4pm
Tuesday           9am to 4pm
Wednesday     11am to 6pm
Thursday         9am to 4pm
Friday              9am to 4pm

Computers and study tables

  • There are 12 computers and eight study tables available for booking
  • A student can book 1.5 hour session per day
  • Computers and study space available at Lansdowne only. Service is open to all Camosun students

Borrowing materials
Request materials online at
Choose take-away service or mail option
Books, DVD, magazines four-week loan. 
Renewals, to extend a loan, are available as long as no one else is waiting for item

Textbook reserves
From the time an item is put-on the pick-up shelf, the 72-hour loan begins. The sooner you pick it up, the longer you have it.

$10 / day fine
Renewing (extending) a loan is not possible
Remember, not all textbooks for all courses are available

Return materials to outside book drops 24/7
Book drop locations:
Lansdowne: West side of front entrance
Interurban: First floor and second floor entrances to Campus Centre

For students who have booked time in the library, a printer/copier is available
Printing and copying are free

Safety protocols:

  • Students need to follow COVID-19 safety training and screening requirements when on campus
  • Capacity at Lansdowne is 50 people (including staff)
  • Capacity at Interurban is 15 people (Including staff)
  • Wearing masks is strongly recommended by the college; disposable masks are available on request
  • Self assessment is required to book a computer or pick up materials
  • Seating limited to students with a booked computer or study table; one person at computer or table
  • No food or drink
  • 72-hour quarantine for returned library materials
  • Service desk plexiglass shields installed; no in person help available
  • Enhanced cleaning; sanitizers available at each computer workstation and study table
  • One-way directional signs
  • Safety information posted

Order sticker and card online at
Book a time to pickup ID/U-Pass

Virtual services  
Book a personal help session is a gateway to digital collection of eBooks, journals’ and streaming video. 24/7 access and always FREE!

Resource Guides—Online guides with information resources expertly curated for specific subjects and courses. The how to guides will help with citations, avoiding plagiarism, etc.

Writing Centre is completely online

Not sure? Email:

Follow us:

Twitter @CamosunLibrary
Facebook CamosunLibrary

COVID-19 Safety Plan

The most current copy of the college’s COVID-19 Safety Plan is available here.

Contact Us
Camosun College Lansdowne
3100 Foul Bay Rd
Victoria BC V8P 5J2
Camosun College Interurban
4461 Interurban Rd
Victoria BC V9E 2C1
  • 250–370–3000
  • 1–877–554–7555 (toll-free)

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