(Abhi Sharma/Flickr photo)

(Abhi Sharma/Flickr photo)

Haida Gwaii libraries launch new online sign-up service, 24/7 WiFi

Residents without library cards can now sign up online, access eLibrary

Haida Gwaii libraries have new services available to help residents cope with the effects of the novel coronavirus.

A release on March 27 said that since all Vancouver Island Regional Library (VIRL) branches remain closed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic — including those in Sandpit, Masset, Port Clements and Queen Charlottte — a new online registration service has been launched “for anyone who wants to take advantage of VIRL’s amazing online resources.”

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Normally VIRL requires people to sign up in person for a library card, which is needed to access its “always open” eLibrary. But considering the branch closures, director of corporate communications David Carson said VIRL wanted to ensure people who had not signed up for a library card previously could still access ebooks, audiobooks, streaming movies and TV, music, and more.

“We really want people to get online and start exploring the variety of online resources we have available to them,” Carson said, adding that almost 200 people used the new service to sign up over the weekend. “We wanted to make sure that everybody had access.”

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To help everyone stay connected, Carson said VIRL has also extended the hours that WiFI is available outside branch buildings to 24/7.

“Previously the WiFi opened and closed with our branches,” he said. “But we recognize that internet access is more important than ever as people are striving to stay connected.”

Those taking advantage of the extended WiFi hours are reminded to practise physical distancing.

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