KWLOT and COVID-19

Hello from Kitchener-Waterloo Library of Things (KWLOT)! 

This is our #firstblog and comes in midst of transitions that KWLOT has been going through, in an effort to meet the needs of our members have AND ensure safety during these COVID-19 days. These transitions have been informed by public health and provincial guidelines, of course, but they have been set within a context of our values. We believe passionately in the sharing economy. During COVID-19, that economy took just as big a hit as the financial economy. We want to be a champion within the industry that encourages folks to think about ways they can continue to participate in the growing #sharingiscaring movement.  This championing ensures our outcomes – members (and future members!) saving money while saving the environment and supporting their local community – can continue to be met. 

We started out carefully. We introduced the online reservation system, allowing members to let us know what they wanted, prior to arriving. The following week, having built their orders, we placed their items on the curb for pickup, at pre-scheduled times. They returned their items a week later, onto a cart, again at pre-scheduled times. Because of the need to have these same items sit in quarantine, we didn’t host another pickup for a full week. 

A challenge surfaced when members needed to renew their membership, as required to continue to loan out items. We also had people who wanted to join us as new members. Contactless renewals and sign-ups were really challenging. As such, we then launched our online payment platform. 

A final obvious drawback being that folks were waiting weeks and weeks for items they wanted. Pick-ups one week, returns the next week, and a full week following to host another pickup. Layer that with wanting an item that someone else reserved before you did. We needed to be more responsive. 

Which brings us to the present moment. We are launching our weekly pickup and drop-off days. Members are able to return their items at one door and pick up their reserved orders at another. We maintain the safety of members by keeping incoming and outgoing items separate. We also are more responsive and accessible to those who continue to support our Library of Things. Check out our Curbside Pickup and Drop-off Guide to learn more about the process.

Our intention is to continue to evolve in our efforts to be the best resource to our community that we can be. 

See you soon,

~ Your KWLOT 

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