Libraries Find Ways to Deliver Hope & Positivity in Uncertain Times

Vickery Bowles headshot, Toronto Public Library

Toronto Public Library City Librarian Vickery Bowles


Quietly in the background, as the world went into lockdown, the COVID-19 pandemic saw library activity increase around the world. People began to seek refuge in reading and rediscover the books at their local libraries. As a result, libraries have been forced to adapt quickly to radically increased readership, the demand for digital content and the enforcement of social distancing measures. 

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Indigenous Authors Contemplate a “New Normal”

This June marks the 11th anniversary of National Indigenous History Month in Canada, where we are fortunate to find the work of many Indigenous authors who have enlightened our hearts and minds through writing. This ia time for recognition and reflection on the unique heritage, culture and contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. As it happens, this is also a time for monumental change, as the world continues to adapt to the effects of a global health crisisTo spotlight the Indigenous experience during this pivotal timewe asked three Indigenous writers, who have released a book within the past 12 months, how their writing has been impacted by COVID-19. Below, you’ll find their deeply personal responses and discover their hopes of a new normal, post pandemic.

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Literary Festivals Respond to COVID-19

A woman in a full auditorium leans forward in her seat, rests her elbow on her knees

Change is at the forefront of our minds these weeks, as the global COVID-19 health crisis forces us all to rethink and rework our daily lives. The literary festival community is also navigating uncharted territory, as festivals large and small, near and far, face the question: How do we keep bringing readers and writers together in a socially distant world? Limits on public gatherings, travel restrictions and very real concerns about health and safety, are among many the factors compelling festivals to make unprecedented decisions. Some are cancelling their 2020 programming, others are postponing, while many more are adjusting their celebrations to suit these changing times.

We know first-hand that a tremendous amount of time and effort goes into the creation of a book festival. We appreciate that none of these decisions are being made lightly, and that most are accompanied by a great deal of economic risk and personal heartbreak. For these reasons, we applaud our festival community and commend those who have decided to put the health and safety of the book-loving community above all else.

To show our support, here is a roundup of some of the extraordinary spring festivals that have been impacted by COVID-19. Learn how they are adapting to the current situation, and how you can still join them in celebrating words and ideas.

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Supporting Local Bookstores While Social Distancing

Sorry we're closed but still awesome sign on door

Since governments worldwide have forced the closure of non-essential services, many bookstores have had to make some big changesIn Toronto, some independent bookstores have had to cease even their online operations as a response measure to COVID-19. With so much uncertainty, there is one thing that we know for sure  independent bookstores need your business now more than ever. Bookstores play an important role in our communities, so as social distancing presents us with more time to read, we’re asking everyone to consider the [positive] impact that stockpiling books could have on your communityHere’s a list of booksellers, or social distancing superheroes, that would love to supply you with your next read.

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