Important Updates and News for Libraries During COVID-19

Updated as of June 4, 2020, 1:30 PM EST

Read Recent Updates from OLA:

Jump To:
Library News
Member Services Updates:

Education Institute
The Library Marketplace
Forest of Reading
Member Benefits

COVID-19 is considered a pandemic by the World Health Organization and many organizations and institutions are adapting to this fluid situation. We are committed to continuing to effectively serve our members, while keeping our staff, volunteers, and members safe.

As of March 17, Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health requires closure of all public libraries. Beginning May 19, public libraries are included in the “Detailed List of Stage 1 Openings” as being allowed to do ‘pick-up or delivery.'  

On March 12, all Ontario schools are mandated to close. It was announced on May 19 that schools will remain closed for the rest of this school year.

Public libraries can share information about how they are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic through this form.
School libraries can share information about how they are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic through this form.

Resources for Libraries

Library News:

Updates from the Ontario Government:

  • June 2: Ontario extends the state of emergency until June 30, 2020.
  • May 19: Ontario announces schools will remain closed for the rest of this school year. The government is planning for the reopening of schools for the 2020-21 school year.
  • May 14: Ontario announces additional workplaces that can reopen, including public libraries for "pick-up and delivery," starting May 19, 2020.
  • May 12:The Ontario Government extends the state of emergency until June 2, 2020
  • April 26: School closures in Ontario are extended until at least May 31, 2020.
  • April 14: The Ontario Government extends the state of emergency until May 12, 2020.
  • March 31: The closure of Ontario's public schools was extended until May 4 for students.
  • March 30: The State of Emergency in Ontario was extended until April 13, 2020.
  • March 27: Message from the Ministry of Heritage, Tourism, Sport and Culture Industries (MHTCS)
  • March 23: The Ontario Government ordered the mandatory closure of all non-essential workplaces effective as of Tuesday, March 24 at 11:59 PM for at least 14 days.
  • March 19: The Municipal Emergency Act, 2020 passed the Ontario legislation, giving municipalities the ability to "fully conduct Council, local board and committee meetings electronically when faced with local and province-wide emergencies, empowering the government's municipal partners to respond quickly when in-person meetings cannot be held." As library boards make decisions about how to hold their upcoming board meetings, OLBA has shared a resource to help boards understand some of the options available to them.
  • March 17: Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health required closure of all public libraries.
  • March 17: Private schools were directed to close until March 31, when the order will be reassessed.
  • March 12: All publicly funded Ontario schools were ordered to remain closed from March 14 through April 5, 2020.


Member Services Updates

Here are updates and changes to OLA's services, in response to this rapidly changing situation:


  • As of March 17, our Toronto-based office is closed to the public. OLA staff will continue to work and respond to members' inquiries remotely. We will be available via our main phone number (416-363-3388) and email at Please note that there may be a delay in response to email and phone inquiries. We appreciate your patience.
  • Health and safety protocols and procedures are in place for staff who may feel unwell or who may be directly affected by COVID-19. OLA provides sick leave to staff. For more information, please contact
  • Upcoming in-person meetings at the OLA office have been moved to teleconference.

Membership Renewals

  • For those members whose membership were set to expire during the month of March, we have extended these memberships until April 30 at no cost.
  • We will continue to evaluate expired memberships as this situation progresses and we will notify members whose membership will be expiring soon.


Due to COVID-19 and the public health directives to remain physically isolated and to avoid gatherings, OLA has postponed or cancelled
the following events

  • Forest of Reading Festival - cancelled
  • RA in a Day: April 28 at North York Central Library - postponed
  • OCULA Spring Conference: May 1 at iSchool Inforum - postponed
  • Digital Odyssey: June 8 at London Public Library - delivered in an alternate, virtual format
  • Annual Institute on Library as Place: July 6-7 at Novotel Toronto Centre - delivered in an alternate, virtual format

OLA looks forward to working with our event committees in designing alternative, virtual learning experiences. We hope we can count on your continued support! We encourage members to continue to be engaged and supportive of the association by registering for virtual events and EI webinars.

Education Institute

The Library Marketplace

  • The Library Marketplace is continuing to operate and accept orders online, so you can still make purchases. The OLA office remains closed to minimize the spread of coronavirus and to keep our employees safe by practicing social distancing.  
  • The Library Marketplace is monitoring all packages shipped to and from OLA. The borders between Canada and the US have officially closed for all non-essential travel purposes.
  • You can still place orders online with us or purchase gift certificates, however, deliveries from orders purchased from March 17 and onwards will be delayed until further notice.
  • Due to the inconvenience of delays, we are offering all socks at 40% off. Once you have added a pair of socks to your cart, enter the code WECARE at checkout.
  • If you have any questions or concerns, please email us at
  • Please visit The Library Marketplace's website for further information on how we are responding.

Forest of Reading

We made a number of changes to major aspects of the program so readers and parents have full access to the program during these times:
  • Password Website: The Forest of Reading is a paid program, however, in these unprecedented times, it is important for our children, educators and library staff to have access to our program. The password website, which was previously only accessible to current registrants, is now open to the public for free at With over 500 resources for this year's nominated titles and virtual author visits previously recorded, there is so much content for people to use.
  • Voting: We have extended voting in the school-aged programs until June 1. Voting can be done through the Forest of Reading website under "Voting in the School-Aged Programs" in the top menu.
  • Forest Fridays/Mercre-LIT: Virtual author visits will continue. Live virtual author visits are capped at 100 people. If you are unable to join live, we will post the recording link immediately following the visit. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.
  • We are also releasing read aloud videos of all ten of the 2020 Blue Spruce nominated titles. You can find them on the OLA’s YouTube page
  • A reminder that the Forest of Reading provides curated award lists and book resources across all age groups. Readers can get copies of the nominated books through their local library, any book retailer offering delivery or Tinlids, the official wholesaler of the Forest.

GoodLife Membership Benefit

  • All Goodlife memberships have been put on hold and all associated payments were stopped March 17.
  • Members who have purchased a Paid-in-Full annual membership will receive an extension in their current expiry date reflective of the total time GoodLife clubs remain closed.

Perkopolis Membership Benefit

  • Perkopolis has curated offers for working from home and being home with the family. You can find this information on their main page under the "Featured Perks."

The Personal Membership Benefit

  • The Personal Insurance Company website now includes an important notice message which directs members to a landing page dedicated to the current situation to keep our members apprised of pertinent information from their organization and to provide updates as they become available.

OLA will also continuously monitor information coming from Toronto Public Health, the Ontario Health Ministry, and the Canadian Public Health Agency.

We will inform you as we know more. You can check in with us for updates on this webpage.

We recognize that these are unprecedented times and we are committed to supporting and connecting our members and registrants.

Thank you for your continued support as we work together through this rapidly changing situation. Stay safe, stay healthy.