VANCOUVER -- After weeks of closures, reading enthusiasts with a Vancouver Public Library card can now take out books at some branches.

While VPL still offered digital copies of some of its books during the novel coronavirus pandemic, the library announced Tuesday that it's launching a takeout option for those who want to get their hands on a hard copy. 

Under the new system, however, books can only be picked up at select branches and library staff pick out the selections.

The takeout system allows readers to order online or call in. First, they're asked what language and age range they want the books for. Then they're prompted to tell library staff what their reading interests are and whether they're looking for fiction or non-fiction. 

DVDs and Blu-rays are also available, and up to 10 items can be taken out on each card. 

"Given the volume of materials and requests, we cannot accommodate requests for specific titles through this service," a message from the library says. 

Other Metro Vancouver libraries have launched their own takeout systems.  

All North Vancouver libraries, for example, are lending items through staff recommendations or specific requests. 

The books are individually bagged, and a time is arranged for the member to pick them up. A staff member puts the bag on a table outside the main doors and the borrower takes that bag home.

Coquitlam, Burnaby and Richmond public libraries also have similar systems in place. 

For now, the five VPL branches with pickups available are: Central Library, Hastings, Kitsilano, Renfrew and South Hill. VPL says it plans to have its locations open gradually over the summer, with all locations offering limited services by September.