YRL Blog - Updates and more

March 27


  • We are starting to hear comments regarding supports to residents who do not have internet (or stable internet) at home and how they can be supported to access the provincial and federal government programs if the application is online. Today Employment and Social Development Canada released the following: “To support access to critical programs and services for clients without access to technology, Service Canada Community Outreach and Liaison Service staff are contacting communities to offer alternate service delivery methods that will continue to support accessing critical programs, services and benefits.”

Cybersecurity at home

  • Starting Monday, YRL will be sharing key tips about how to work securely from home. In the interim, Stephanie highly recommends you subscribe to (or at least have a look at) the OUCH! Newsletter, a monthly security awareness newsletter developed by the SANS Security Awareness team, that is useful for everyone. Check out their Digital Spring Cleaning article – something we should all be able to do with this extra time we have. If you want to learn more, register for the Spring Has Sprung! Time for a Digital Spring Cleaning webinar hosted by the National Cyber Security Alliance and the Better Business Bureau on April 14 from 11:00 a.m. to noon (MST).

From The Alberta Library (TAL)

  • LearnAlberta changed the login for the Online Reference Centre (ORC) so that it is geolocated for the moment. All students/parents/guardians/teachers across Alberta should be able to access it without an issue.
  • TAL is fielding calls from customers who are concerned about renewing their library material (they somehow get to TAL first). On behalf of public libraries, TAL is telling them to hang on to the items until libraries reopen, and not to worry about the fines or due dates.
  • TAL is adding free professional development ideas to their website and are currently developing an Indigenous Resources section. Please email Karla if there is something you would find useful.
  • National Geographic is offering free access to their special Coronavirus coverage.

March 26

Watch your email for... 

  • A message from Stephanie Thero (sthero@yrl.ab.ca) on how to work from home – and be cybersecure.


  • We have had a number of libraries asking to provide funds to increase OverDrive and/or cloudLibrary purchases – thank you!!!!! If you have questions about this or would like to allocate funds, please email askyrl@yrl.ab.ca (then everything is in one place and we won’t lose anything!).
  • hoopla has just announced 1,100 additional titles to their catalogue (okay, that part isn’t news). What IS news is that these titles are part of their ‘bonus borrows’ collection – customers will NOT be debited borrows from their monthly allotment. Check our Facebook and Twitter accounts for hoopla promotional posts you can share.

Information for employers and staff

Federal programs 

  • Demonstrating how quickly things are changing... after yesterday’s update was sent, the federal government announced changes to their COVID-19 response funding. In particular, the new Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) will provide a taxable benefit of $2,000 a month for up to four months.
  • The CERB will be accessible through a secure web portal starting in early April. Applicants will also be able to apply via an automated telephone line or via a toll-free number.
  • Additionally, workers who are still employed, but are not receiving income because of disruptions to their work situation due to COVID-19, would also qualify for the CERB. This would help businesses keep their employees as they navigate these difficult times, while ensuring they preserve the ability to quickly resume operations as soon as it becomes possible.

March 25

Provincial library operating grants 

  • All library nodes were told today via a conference call that the provincial operating grants for libraries are secure; the government is currently developing a process to release the funds.

Training materials 

  • A tutorial has been developed on the various options available for organizing and running virtual meetings; this tutorial can be found on our Training page.
  • Thank you to those who have reached out to us already for weeding support! We are happy to help you virtually and we will have additional training for weeding posted on our training page by the end of this week.

They love you! They really love you!! 

  • As the webform rolls out, we’re seeing an influx of new cards and card renewals! As of 3:00 p.m. today, YRL staff have issued 27 new cards and 37 renewals.
    • As we get juvenile card requests without guardian details, we will be sending that back requesting the full information.
  • Libraries in the United Kingdom are now contacting us asking for OverDrive support!

Federal government initiatives (as we know them to be) 

  • The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has a Helping Canadians with the economic impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic page to provide information on programs and services including.
    • Emergency Support Benefit: Support for workers who are not eligible for Employment Insurance (EI) and who are facing unemployment.
    • Temporary Wage Subsidy for Employers: A new program intended to support employers: non-profit organizations, charities, and some private corporations. These employers, effective immediately, reduce remittances of federal, provincial or territorial income tax paid to the CRA.

Communities of support 

March 24


  • We will be purchasing additional content for OverDrive and cloudLibrary. HUGE thanks to the member libraries who have asked if they could contribute funds as well.


  • We have ‘assigned’ member public libraries to specific staff at YRL who will be calling you about once a week, just to check in. Please don’t hesitate to call or contact us if you have questions, or just need to talk!
    •  If you are calling, please leave a message on the main line voicemail as it is checked regularly throughout the day. 780-962-2003 or toll free 1-877-962-2003, press zero when the message starts which will transfer you to the main line voicemail.
    • For email, you can send it directly to your contact or to askyrl@yrl.ab.ca.

March 23

New cards/card renewals 

  • If you would like a form on your website for customers to fill out, for a new card or card renewal, email askyrl@yrl.ab.ca
  • If you would like us to manage the new card/card renewal issuing process for you, email askyrl@yrl.ab.ca. We ask that you please allow 48 hours turn-around time, depending on volume.  

Request: Online programming 

  • If you are doing any online programming, please keep track of the numbers you are getting, and if you can – the reach of the program. Did you have participants from outside your municipality? Outside of Alberta? Outside of Canada? 
  • Please let us know if you are also doing online programs in languages other than English (no pressure) 

Online Reference Centre

  • TAL has announced that they were successful in getting LearnAlberta and the vendors to agree to temporary access to the Online Reference Centre Content. TAL is working with LearnAlberta on developing a temporary login and will inform us when it is ready to go.  Stay tuned for more resources to support Alberta students!  

Professional Development 

  • NOTE!!! ALC has officially been cancelled for this year. Any registration amounts you have paid, will be refunded. Jasper Park Lodge will be refunding any deposits made on the rooms.  

Online professional development opportunities: 

  • Library 2.0 presents Libraries stepping up! Serving the needs of communities in crisis. Thursday, March 26, 11:00 am - 4:30 pm Mountain Time (four one-hour sessions with one 30-minute break).
    • Registration: To register for the mini-conference, join Library 2.0. Those who are already members of Library 2.0 do not need to do anything. The schedule with the live session links will be sent to all Library 2.0 members the day prior to the event. You can also attend the conference by logging in to this site and there will be links on the main page to follow. The mini-conference platform is Zoom. To make sure your computer or mobile is configured for Zoom, please visit zoom.us/test.
  • African Library and Information Associations and Institutions’ Suite of COVID-19 Resources for Librarians is a collection of online/mobile reading platforms, more resources for students, links to Massive Open Online Courses, tools to create digital content, and more.

HR Questions 

  • If your Board needs to meet, let us help you set up a virtual meeting (Google Hangouts, GoToMeeting, Whereby, etc.). Email askyrl@yrl.ab.ca with the participants’ names and emails and, of course, the date and time of your meeting (please allow us 24 hours notice minimum). 

March 20

  • Click here to view a recording of a recent webinar on Covid-19 workplace implications. Although Ontario-focused, YRL member libraries may find information in this webinar helpful. Alternatively, you can read the transcript

March 19

  • Library delivery services, including government courier, have been shut down. YRL is not able to move items between libraries and systems until further notice.
  • Any item with a status of Out as of Wed., Mar, 19 had its due date extended to May 15, 2020. This does not apply to eResources (e.g. eBooks).
  • Items with a status of Held as of Wed., Mar. 19 had its held til date extended to May 15, 2020. 
  • All hold requests with a status of Active with expiration dates between Mar. 18 and Dec. 31, 2020 have been extended to Dec. 31, 2021.
  • Patron records with an expiration date between Mar. 1 and Mar. 31, 2020 regardless of standing were extended to May 31, 2020. Depending how long libraries are closed, we may have to do another bulk update for cards expiring in April. 
  • As no one will be able to fill holds, placing holds has been disabled and holds routing is stopped, we’ve removed YRL libraries as a pickup location so that people don’t think that they’ll be able to pick up holds. 
  • Email, text and telephone notifications have been turned off to minimize patron confusion.
  • Do not access Leap or SimplyReports from a personal device. 
New cards/card renewals
  • If you would like a form on your website for customers to fill out, for a new card or card renewal, email askyrl@yrl.ab.ca.
  • If you would like us to manage the new card/card renewal issuing process for you, email askyrl@yrl.ab.ca. Allow 48 hours turn-around time.
  • On Mar. 19, we increased hoopla checkouts to 10 per month. We will reassess this in April based on use and volume.
  • We will increase OverDrive and Cloud Library purchases.
  • Don’t forget about the Read Alberta eBooks collection! There are often fewer holds on titles accessed through here.
  • Email askyrl@yrl.ab.ca if you need assistance with waiving fines so that customers can access eResources.
Wireless Internet
  • We removed the library barcode and PIN authentication for the Library Wireless WiFi network. 
  • We will be touching base with library staff regularly as things progress by phone or email. Please keep in touch with us as well through askyrl@yrl.ab.ca or call and leave a message at 780-962-2003/1-877-962-2003, press zero.
  • Visit our website for updates, recommendations and changes: http://www.yrl.ab.ca/yrl-services-during-shut-down.
  • Training and resource videos are available: http://www.yrl.ab.ca/yrl-training-resources.
  • If you need your website updated, email the details to wsfl@yrl.ab.ca.
  • If your board needs to meet, let us help you set up a virtual meeting (Google Hangouts, GoToMeeting, Whereby, etc.). Email askyrl@yrl.ab.ca with the participants’ names and emails and, of course, the date and time of your meeting (please allow us 24 hours notice minimum).
  • PLSB reminds us all that the libraries should be completely closed to the public. Please do not stay open to serve target groups or book appointments for people to come in and use computers or browse the collection.