Safety First with Walkthrough Service

August 18, 2020

Vancouver Island Regional Library serves 3,171 customers safely for Walkthrough Service pilot in Nanaimo.

In the first 22 days of opening for VIRL’s Walkthrough Service pilot, staff at Vancouver Island Regional Library’s (VIRL) Harbourfront branch have welcomed more than 3,170 customers, helping them browse and checkout materials safely.

Averaging 144 customers per day, customers followed safety protocols and staff direction, and received an “overwhelmingly positive response.”

Customers both inside and outside the branch expressed their appreciation for the new service.

“This was quick and easy. What a good system,” and “Thank you – it is so nice to be able to come inside the library, a place that I love so much,” were among just a few of the positive comments staffed received.

“We are thrilled with the success of our Harbourfront Walkthrough Service pilot,” says Melissa Legacy, VIRL’s Director of Library Services and Planning. “Staff have been extremely diligent in creating and following safety protocols and we look forward to replicating and rolling this model out across our service area in the days and weeks ahead.”

Safety measures a top priority

During the pilot, the Harbourfront branch saw less than eight customers at a time enter during Walkthrough Service hours. Most wore masks and used the available hand sanitizer stations when entering and exiting.

On August 14, staff welcomed representatives from School District 68 who visited the branch to learn how VIRL’s safety measures for Walkthrough Service could be used in school libraries this fall.

Grab N Go bags – a safe, touchless alternative to browsing – were also a hit at the branch and contained books of particular interest to Harbourfront customers based on previous experience and librarian knowledge. A total of 73 were checked out during the 22-day period, and staff were thrilled with the feedback they received on social media about a bag with resources for teaching kids about racism and black identity.

Additional branches are preparing for Walkthrough Service in the coming days and weeks. VIRL will also launch its first Sit Down Service at the Bella Coola branch on August 19 where customers can browse the branch’s entire collection and sit down to enjoy their materials, all in an environment that’s safe, controlled, and sanitized.

For updates on your local branch, visit


For more information
David Carson, Director, Corporate Communications and Strategic Initiatives