Touriandi residents were able to get out and visit the Bingara library for the first time in its new location. Whilst the library was officially opened way back in March, almost immediately after that, COVID locked down both the Lodge and the library.
In a move that was greatly appreciated, the building was closed to the public during the visit, ensuring the space felt safe. “To say they were impressed by the renovation to the civic centre is an understatement,” said Bingara Librarian, Gail Philpott.
For many of those visiting there were memories of a time when they cooked in the old kitchen and presented food through the servery window; a feature which was able to be retained. Others could picture where the old projector went in times when movies were played in the space.
“It’s spectacular and situated in the centre of town, we should all be very proud. I cannot believe the kitchen area came up so good I spent many hours in there assisting with functions. The toilets are the best we have seen. I love that I can move about with ease from front to back,” said one visitor.
Gail told The Gwydir News proudly, “We tested the toilet facilities with a wheelchair and walkers and the entire area came up trumps, we can definitely promote disabled access from front door to back door.”
The residents of Touriandi just couldn’t believe how the building had been transformed with comments ranging from “It’s just beautiful and the best I’ve seen” and “could be in any city, phenomenal”, to “it’s such a relaxing place to spend time, it’s so bright and airy. I would love to visit more often,” and “Council should be congratulated this library is something to be very proud of.”
The highlight for many, according to Gail, was being able to feel part of the community and watching out towards the main street, which they haven’t been able to do for such a long time. With the residents having been restricted in getting about for their regular outings, Manager of Touriandi Lodge, Jennifer Brown, said “This is the first time for a visit to the library like this. They all had a great time and are looking forward to returning soon.”
Being locked down hasn’t mean missing out though. “Recently we have had several drives with residents. Which is always popular. We have not been out for morning tea as we are not exposing ourselves to the general public too much as yet. Our stay in projects are chocolate making, poetry reading, a lot of Bingo and card playing. Our monthly barbecues have also been very popular,” said Jennifer.