Locals dive into books as libraries reopen
Published on 10 June 2020
Lake Mac locals are diving back into books, with almost 21,500 items borrowed from Council libraries in the week after reopening from COVID-19 shutdowns.
Cultural Experiences Coordinator Martin Payne said that number – up on the same period in 2019 – reflected the community’s desire for public libraries to reopen with COVID-safe measures in place.
“The response since we opened on 1 June has been wonderful. Staff at one of our branches actually had a mini-ovation from people standing at the entrance waiting to get in on the first day,” Mr Payne said.
“It demonstrates the important role libraries play in our community – something we did our best to maintain throughout the COVID-19 shutdown.”
Lake Mac Libraries established a home delivery program from late March to the end of May, delivering almost 20,000 items to 1800 people across the City.
E-books and other electronic loan items also proved popular during the shutdown. Loans in this category jumped by more than 40 per cent in the April-June period, a record for the City. And downloads of the Lake Mac Libraries app, where users can reserve items, search catalogues and more, jumped to 4000-plus.
Mr Payne said all branches had now reopened with updated operating hours.
“We’ve had to adjust layout, flow and accessibility to meet public health guidelines, and there are capacity limits at each branch, but we are proud to be there for the community,” Mr Payne said.
Meeting rooms and normal library programs and activities are still postponed, but Mr Payne said library crews were working hard to get them back up and running as soon as health guidelines allowed.
“It has been a challenging time for our customers and our staff, but our Lake Mac Libraries team has really pulled together to help get us back to where we are today,” he said.
The closure also allowed for streamlined refurbishment of Morisset Library.
The refurb included a new internal fit-out and paint, updated layout and installation of a self-checkout kiosk.
Though all Lake Mac Libraries are now open, the grace period for returning items borrowed before the shutdown has been extended.
“We won’t be issuing fines at this stage for items that became overdue during the closures, but we encourage everyone to bring their books and other items back when they can make it to a branch,” Mr Payne said.