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Library giving savings back to city to fight COVID-19

The Thunder Bay Public Library will be returning $250,000 to the city from money saved due to library locations being closed since March.

THUNDER BAY - Thunder Bay Public Library locations have been closed since the spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the savings that resulted from the shutdown are being donated to the city.

John Pateman, CEO and chief librarian with the Thunder Bay Public Library, said in a statement that savings of $250,000 will be donated to the city of Thunder Bay to fund emergency services.

“The $250,000 in savings the library is giving to the City were achieved mostly through the reduced staffing costs - although we have also seen increased and unanticipated costs due to the global pandemic,” Pateman said in a media release.

“We expect that this $250,000 contribution will help the City in their efforts to fund emergency services, shelters and other key City services to help keep our city safe and citizens connected to the supports that they need.”

All library branches closed in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the majority of staff were placed on an emergency leave.

The Thunder Bay Public Library is using a phased approach for reopening and is currently in phase five, allowing no-contact holds pickups and drop-offs at all four library locations.

“We are looking forward to continuing to phase in library services until we can safely resume full operations,” Pateman said.

“We know that many people in our community need the library, now, more than ever and we look forward to fully resuming our role of safely connecting people of all ages, races, and income levels in accessing important and valued public services.”

Pateman added an announcement on moving into phase six is expected soon and will involve limited services inside all library locations.