Serving Cape Breton Regional Municipality and Victoria County since 1950

Important Notices

Cape Breton Regional Library COVID-19 FAQ


Q: Am I required to wear a mask in the Cape Breton Regional Libraries? 

A: Yes, as per the Nova Scotia Provincial announcement, patrons are required to wear a non-medical mask during their visit to the library from July 31st.


A:What if I forget my mask, or can’t afford to buy or make one?

Q:  Although we encourage patrons to bring their own mask, we realize that this isn’t always possible. If you don’t have a mask, you can ask for one at the circulation desk. The Nova Scotia Government has provided free reusable masks through library and museum locations around the province.


Q: What if I can’t wear a mask? Will I be allowed to visit the library?

A: Yes. We understand that in some cases,  individuals are unable able to wear a mask. If this is the case, simply notify a member of staff. This will not prevent you from being able to visit the library.
The following persons are exempted from wearing a face mask and will not be required to provide proof of such exemption:


  • Persons with an underlying medical condition which inhibits their ability to wear a mask.


  • Children under two years of age


  • A child at least 2 years in age but under the age of 4 years who refuses to wear a face mask and cannot be persuaded to do so by their caregiver.


If you’re unable to wear a mask and feel vulnerable in public indoor spaces, please be aware that our libraries still offer “Library Take Out” services. To access this service, please phone your local library branch.


Q: Do I still need to physically distance if I am wearing a face mask?

A: Yes, you are still required to physically distance as much as possible when wearing a mask as part of the package of personal protective measures. Masks are not a substitute for physically distancing.


Q:Can I wear a face shield instead of a non-medical mask?

A: No, for the purpose of this new public health directive, a face shield cannot be worn instead of a non-medical mask.


Q:How do I wear a non-medical mask?
A: Please consult Health Canada: How to properly wear a mask


Q: How will this be enforced? What if another patron is not wearing a mask?

A: CBRL will follow the Province’s example of taking a cooperative and positive approach to mandatory masking rather than an enforcement approach. We have confidence that the vast majority of our patrons will wear a mask, if at all possible.


Thank you for helping us in complying with the Government of Nova Scotia’s mask guidelines. For more information on the mandatory mask requirements visit:


As always, remember to:

Stay home if you feel unwell.

Wash or sanitize your hands often, use proper cough and sneeze etiquette.

Physically distance as much as possible.

Avoid touching your face, mouth, nose, and eye.

Limit the number of people you get together with.

Clean high-touch surfaces and objects frequently.


Q: Are Library Branches open?

A: Yes! Library Branches are now open to the public.  The CBRL bookmobile has also resumed service. Some branches are closed for vacations, check the branch locations page for details.


Q: What does library service look like?

A: Here’s what to expect when you visit one of CBRL’s branches: 

  • Plexi-glass shields have been installed at service desks 
  • Some furniture has been removed to provide more unencumbered floor space 
  • All returned library materials are quarantined for 72 hours; 
  • High touch surfaces will be cleaned more frequently 
  • There will be a limit on the number of people allowed in the library at one time 
  • There will no longer be late fines on overdue materials 


Q:Is Library Take-Out still available?

A: Yes, our curbside Library Take-Out service is still available. To select new books, you will need to either place a hold on your online library account or call your local library branch and a member of staff will be able to assist you. Contact information for each branch can be found here


Q:Can somebody else pick up my books for me?

A:Yes. Your items will be checked out to you as soon as they are processed. If you can’t pick up your books yourself, you can arrange for somebody else to pick them up for you.


Q:Will materials be safe to check out? Will they be quarantined?

A: Yes. As a precaution for COVID-19, we are following protocols for isolating returned materials. All returned items will be quarantined for 3 days before being checked out to another user. All staff will be adhering to strict guidelines currently in place to prevent the spread of the virus. 


Q:  Can I read still the newspaper and magazines in the library?

We encourage everyone to try our new online service PressReader which includes access to local and national newspapers, and magazines.  You can access PressReader from your home computer, your personal mobile device, or a library computer.  We ask that anyone wishing to read the printed paper or magazines in the library sanitize their hands and wear a mask while reading.  Magazines can also be borrowed to take home and read.


Q: If I have fines on my account, can I still borrow books and use library services?

A: Yes! The Library is no longer charging overdue fines and fines accrued prior to July 2020 have been removed from user accounts.  If you experience any problems logging in to your account please e-mail or phone your local library branch.


Q:How do I access my library my account online? 

A: You can check your account by going to and clicking on My Account. You will need your library card number and PIN to sign-in. By default the PIN is the last four digits of your phone number.


Q: I’ve lost/misplaced my library card – how do I retrieve my library card number to access my account?

A: If you have lost/misplaced your library card you can call your local library branch to connect with a staff member for assistance. 


Q: I don’t have a library card, what can I do?

A: If you aren’t already a library member, fill out our new membership form to request a library card and someone will get back to you in 48-72 hours.


Q: Can I request books from other CBRL branches?

A: Yes, you can log in to your account online and place a hold on a book from any CBRL branch or the Bookmobile.  You can also phone your local library branch to request books.


Q: Can I request a book from another library system through Interlibrary Loan?

A: Yes.  All public libraries in Nova Scotia have resumed Interlibrary Loan service and some Nova Scotia Universities have as well.


Q: How do I renew items on my account?
A: If you’d like to enjoy your materials for longer, you can renew materials online as long as they have not been requested by others. You can renew books using your online library account, or you can call in to your local branch to connect with a staff member for assistance.  


Q: Are you still providing in-library programs like Story Time?

A: At this time only a few pre-registered programs such as book clubs and knitting clubs are available.  Children’s programs have not yet resumed but many branches are offering Craft-to-Go Kits and online story times are being posted to the library’s Facebook page.


Q: Will the book sale area be open ? 

A: The book sale areas in library branches are open.  We accept cash for used book sales.


Q: Is the library accepting used book donations? 

A: Cape Breton Regional Library is accepting limited donations of gently used books for our Book Sale Collection.  In order to have the adequate space for quarantining items before they are made available for purchase, please consider small donations of recent best-sellers, paperbacks, and DVDs. The library is also interested in books which may have historical value especially books pertaining to local history.

Please note that we do not accept textbooks, encyclopedias, Reader’s Digest Condensed Books, VHS or cassette tapes, or any item that is in poor condition or damaged.


Digital Library /Online Resources: 

You can enjoy CBRL’s online collections from the comfort of your own home.  Online resources include eBooks, audiobooks, newspapers and magazines.  You will need your library card number and PIN (normally the last four digits of your phone number) to log-in.   Click here to view the full list of online resources.


Q: I’ve lost/misplaced my library card – how do I retrieve my library card number to access my account?

A: If you have lost/misplaced your library card you can send an e-mail to or call your local library branch to connect with a staff member for assistance. 


Q: How do I use your online resources if I do not have a library membership?

A: Click here to fill out an online application form. * Please note that it can take up to 48-72 hours to process your application form.


Q: I need help accessing your digital library, who do I contact?

A: If you’re new to the CBRL digital library or having trouble accessing content, email or call (902)-562-3161 for assistance.


Q: How do I contact the library if I have more questions?

A: Call your local branch or email us at and a staff member will get back to you.

Thank you for helping to keep our community healthy!