Monday marked the first day Organisation Membership libraries across the state were able to open to the public since the Covid-19 crisis forced a shutdown in March.
Gwydir Shire Librarians Gail Philpott and Helen Seage were ready to accept returns and welcome their much-loved members as the doors opened this week. Bingara Librarian, Gail, said that the number of books borrowed from the library over the lockdown was amazing, with people enjoying reading to pass the time.
Gwydir library customers were lucky to enjoy some new services as a result of the temporary closures with the ‘click and collect’ option proving very popular and the trolley at the front of each library for free books being very well utilised.
Customers are now welcome to return books borrowed over the past nine weeks, which for some have added up to a substantial amount of reading.
At Warialda staff would like returns placed in the return shoot. For Bingara patrons there are several tables near the front counter where returns can be left. “Every book at each library is wiped down and sanitised. Each return will wait four days before it will be re-shelved for issue again,” said Gail.
In line with the information from The State Library of NSW, Gwydir libraries also saw an impressive number of new memberships and online memberships during the lockdown period.
Reopening has taken some extra thought and planning with additional hygiene and distancing measures in place to ensure the safety of the community. In addition, both libraries have implemented ‘Vulnerable & Over 70’ designated times from 10:00am -12:00pm on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday each week, allowing those with concerns to feel comfortable and visit in a more private setting.
Computers are available for use, with all stations open in Bingara and just one in Warialda, in order to comply with distancing regulations.
Whilst everyone is welcome to come on their own, all programs remain on hold, including after school groups, story time, ability sessions, group gatherings and book clubs until further notice.
“School kids are encouraged to come in to research or study, just not as an organised group. The Mothers Room is available; we can accommodate two mothers with toddlers and babies. It’s a nice place to come in and visit and have a chat if you are looking for somewhere to go or breast feed a baby, you are welcome,” said Gail.