John M. Cuelenaere library set to reopen Oct. 5 with COVID-19 restrictions

The John M. Cuelenaere Public Library. (Herald file photo)

The newly renovated John M. Cuelenaere Public Library is reopening its doors on Oct. 5.

In the meantime, the library is offering curbside pickup for physical materials. Prince Albert Public Library Director Alex Juorio said they’ll likely continue offering the service once they reopen, but that’s not nailed down yet.

He said the reopening announcement has received a positive response from the public, but it’s still “a bit scary.”

“There’s a lot of questions with the pandemic. We’re kind of taking the cautious approach to begin with, with a limited service offering, but if things go well, we’ll start doing more as we can.”

The library is coordinating its pandemic response with other city facilities.

Some services will either be limited or temporarily unavailable.

Public computers and washrooms will not be available for use. The building will be limited to 50 members of the public and seating will be kept to a minimum.

Staff will be taking everyone’s temperature before entering the building, and meeting rooms, the theatre and programming will be available at a later date.

Members of the public are encouraged to wear masks while in the library.

Juorio said they planned to temporarily close this summer to do renovations on the adult side of the library.

“While we were doing that work, because we had an extended closure (due to COVID-19), we were able to do a lot of other things that were not planned,” he said.

Renovations include an LED light replacement on the adult side, along with all new shelving.

“Our shelving, the original shelving from when the library first opened, and it’s very much a jumble of different-sized things and not very pretty to look at anymore. There was lots of bangs and dents,” explained Juorio.

“We realized the easiest course was just to replace the shelving entirely, so we’ve got a new layout, new shelving system which gives us more storage space for materials and more floor space.”

The library also plans on replacing furniture and expanding counter space for studying.

Juorio had anticipated that the library wouldn’t reopen until students returned to school. Luckily, so far, that hasn’t resulted in a huge spike in cases.

“Saskatchewan, I think, has been very fortunate with a low rate of infection across the province. So if that continues, we’re going to be opening more and more,” he said.

The Bernice Sayese Centre and Saskatchewan Polytechnic branches of the Prince Albert Public Library will reopen at a later date.

Juorio said they’re currently working on rebranding as the Prince Albert Public Library following the departure from the Wapiti Regional Library in February 2019.

If you’re interested in using curb-side pickup from the John M. Cuelenaere Public Library, visit for details.