Branches are now open with adjusted services and accepting returns. Library Takeout is also available for contactless hold pickups. Learn More

OPL’s Path to Reopening

Last updated: October 22, 2020

Oakville Public Library (OPL) has moved into Stage 3 and all branches and OPL Express locations are open for adjusted services.

Related: Branches information page

We thank our customers and the Oakville community for their patience and support as we gradually reopen more services, and work diligently to get thousands of holds off our shelves and into your hands.

Reopening for Stage 3
August 2020 and Onwards

New In Branch Service Chart

*includes upgrading digital access only library cards to full-service library cards.

Services Not Available

  • In-person programs
  • Room rentals
  • Group gatherings within branch
  • Access to in-branch children’s toys (Tinker toys, board games, etc.)

Updates for Picking Up Your Holds

You have two options – you can self-serve and pick-up your hold in-person at a branch if it is reopen to the public or choose to pick-up at any OPL Express location. You can come any time during opening hours.

Alternatively, you can use Library Takeout for a contactless hold pickup at a scheduled time. You can schedule your appointment here. Please note that appointments can only be scheduled if you have received a notification that your hold is ready for you.


How We’re Keeping Our Community Safe

  • Signage is posted both inside and outside library branches outlining physical distancing guidelines. Everyone must maintain a minimum of six (6) feet apart.
  • We have active health screening in place for all OPL staff and customers before they enter library branches.
  • The number of customers entering the branch at one time will be limited to ensure sufficient and responsible physical distancing can be maintained.
  • There are multiple sanitization stations available for all customers throughout each branch. Customers are encouraged to clean their hands at the beginning and end of their visit.
  • Implement the regional mandatory mask policy for everyone accessing public spaces of the library.
  • Two (2) person limit when browsing library materials at shelves (physical distance guidelines apply). This is self-monitored.
  • Quarantining of all returned materials prior to circulating, as per public health guidelines regarding safe handling of all materials.
  • Signage posted in-branch for where browsed and /or touched items need to be returned for quarantining process.
  • Computer keyboards, computer mice and all other technical equipment, plus all workstations (tables and chairs) will be wiped down after each session.
  • Additional staff will greet and direct customers entering the branch, as well as dedicated cleaning staff consistently sanitizing throughout the day.

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Frequently Asked Questions – Stage 3 Reopening

I have a hold available. How do I pick it up?

You have two options – you can self-serve and pick-up your hold in-person at a branch if it is reopen to the public or choose to pick-up using our OPL Express kiosk at Sixteen Mile Sports Complex. You can come any time during opening hours.

Alternatively, you can use Library Takeout for a contactless hold pickup at a  scheduled time. You can schedule your appointment here. Please note that appointments can only be scheduled if you have received a notification that your hold is ready for you.

What is the capacity at the branch?

The number of customers in the branch at one time will be limited to ensure sufficient and responsible physical distancing can be maintained. Capacity limits vary from each facility.

Will you be screening customers before they enter a branch?

As per the guidance of Halton Region Public Health, we have active health screening in place for all OPL staff and customers before entering the library. Signage is posted at all branch entrances with more information.

Do I have to wear a mask when I visit a branch?

Yes. Customers are asked to wear non-medical masks or face coverings, as per The Regional Municipality of Halton By-law No. 47-20 and Oakville Public Library Mandatory Use of Non-medical Masks / Face Covering Policy.

Is there a time limit for a library visit?

Customers are encouraged to limit their visits to 90 minutes to allow access to as many people as possible.

How often are the branches being cleaned?

Branches are cleaned regularly throughout the day and at the end of the day.

Public access computers and related technology are disinfected after each scheduled session.  Other shared equipment such as catalogue computers and checkout kiosks are cleaned regularly throughout the day.

There are multiple sanitization stations available for all customers throughout each branch. Customers are asked to clean their hands at the beginning and end of their visit.

Can I use the washroom at the branch?

Yes, washroom facilities are open for use during hours of operation.

Can I return materials at the branch?

Customers can make returns via the external book drops, or available internal book drops at reopened branches.

Are you quarantining materials?

All physical materials, returned and browsed in-branch, are quarantined as per public health guidelines regarding safe handling of all materials. In-branch, designated quarantine bins are placed for visitors to return touched materials they are not borrowing.

Note that items placed in the quarantine bins in-branch will still show as “available” in our online catalogue until they come out of quarantine.

What is the limit for people browsing collections in the branch?

We encourage no more than two people browse in an aisle/shelving units, while still maintaining minimum physical distance of six (6) feet. This is self-monitored.

Can I pay my fines or fees at the branch?

Yes, you may pay fines or fees during your branch visit. You can do so in person at the desk, or ask to schedule time to use a public access computer and use the online payment service.  We encourage all customers to pay with a debit or credit card, but cash payments are accepted.  For printing, photocopying and scanning, customers should bring coins as no change for bills will be provided. Debit or credit cards are also accepted for printing, photocopying and scanning.

I have an item to return that doesn’t fit in the book drop. Can I return it inside the branch at a public service desk?

You can return physical materials in-branch during hours of operation in designated quarantine bins. These items placed in the quarantine bins will remain on a customer’s account as “checked in” for up to 72 hours and removed once out of quarantine.

Why are there specific book return hours?

The reason we have set hours on book returns is to ensure that the books are being quarantined appropriately. Having these set return hours allow our staff to know exactly when materials are being brought back into the branch. It is also makes it possible for staff to monitor the return bins and to prevent them from overflowing while the library is closed. The goal is for staff to have as little contact with immediately returned items as possible.

Is the Children’s Spaces/Kid Zones open at the branch?

Yes, all children’s spaces/Kid Zones are open many play elements are not available including computers with games and Tinker Toys.

Can I sit and read at the library?

Due to health and safety protocols, leisure seating and lounging is discouraged at the branch.

Customers are encouraged to limit their visits to 90 minutes.

For study tables and seating, physical distance must be maintained and signage is posted with instructions in-branch.

Can I bring food and/or drinks into the branch?

No, not at this time. Visitors are not to bring and consume any food and/or drinks in the library for health, safety and sanitization reasons.

Can I bring a group to the library for a meeting or to study?

Not at this time. A limit of one person per study table is allowed, where seating is available (varies at each branch).

Will meeting rooms be available to use/rent?

No, room rentals are not available until further notice.

I registered for a library card online, can I place holds for library materials?

Easy Access Cards created online are not eligible for holds on physical items, however as branches reopen for Stage 3, customers will be able to transition to full service library cards. Customers will be contacted directly by email letting them know when their physical cards are upgraded and ready for pickup.

Are library hold periods extended?

All library hold expiry dates have been extended, and will be adjusted as necessary. Two days prior to your hold expiry, you will receive a reminder notification (text, phone or email). You can check your OPL account for updates on your account.

Can I borrow magazines and newspapers?

Newspapers will not be available to browse and read in-branch at this time. Magazines are available in-branch and by placing a hold on specific titles and issues. Please note current issues of magazines will not be available for browsing in-branch and will instead be circulating at this time.

Are WiFi hotspots now available to borrow?

Yes, WiFi hotspots will now be available to borrow, subject to availability.

Are you accepting donations?

No donations of physical materials are accepted at this time. Any non-library material placed in our return book drops will be discarded.

Will the library open as a cooling station during declared heat warnings?

The library will be open regular hours during declared heat warnings and subject to capacity limits.

Is in-branch programming resuming?

No, in-branch, in-person programming is on hold until further notice. Check out our virtual program offerings.

I have questions about reopening? Who do I contact?

You can call your local branch during opening hours, or contact us by email at oplreference@oakville.ca.


Library Takeout

Library Takeout is still available at branches for those who choose to use contactless hold pickups.

For full details about this service, visit the Library Takeout information page.


Computer Access and Related Services

Public computer access is now available (varies at each branch).

For full details about adjusted services, visit the Public Computer Access information page.


Community Resources

Halton Community Services Directory has compiled a helpful list of COVID-19 information and resources for residents of Halton. Whether you’re searching for local food banks, financial relief programs or mental health services in your community – they can help.

Halton Community Services Directory

COVID-19 Resources and Information


Related Information


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