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Borrowing books and Children’s Story Time have a future online

titahi bay library

Librarian Shamila Gurr at the recently reopened Titahi Bay Library.

The libraries may have been closed in April and May, but Porirua residents’ voracious appetite for reading did not wane.

All the branch libraries re-opened when the country hit Alert Level 2, following a lockdown period that meant all Council facilities had to shut.

Customers can physically browse for books on shelves again, but Manager, Porirua City Libraries, Brian Anderson, says the methods of reading old favourites, or checking out new titles, may have changed permanently for some people.

The number of borrowed eBooks - books that can be downloaded onto a device such as a Kindle - increased nearly 100 per cent as the lockdown bit hard.

"We had a lot of people emailing us to get memberships so they could use the service during lockdown, which was fantastic, and the eBook usage and online videos from our fabulous children’s librarians had a big uptake," Mr Anderson says.

eBook usage has been on a steady climb in the past two years, some months showing 40 or 50 per cent rises from the same month the previous year, but April and May in 2020 were massive. In April 2019 there were 2585 eBooks borrowed through the Porirua City library system - this jumped to 5072 for the same month in 2020.

In May 2020, 4848 eBooks were issued, compared with 2507 in the same month last year.

Children's Librarian Bee Trudgeon told Gecko Press delivering the Children’s Story World videos wasn’t easy, "when they are filmed by me - and my Teds - in an empty room, but they were well-received. Finding digital solutions is challenging us to use a whole new way of thinking."

The Children’s Library Facebook group membership jumped 12 per cent as a result, to 464 members, during lockdown.

Under Alert Level 2, some libraries will have slightly different hours than normal, and will not have all usual services operating. You can now buy Council rubbish bags and collect those long-awaited reserves.

Please have patience as you enter the buildings and ensure you observe social distancing.

All the libraries will have a poster with a QR code for the COVID Tracer app, to help you keep a record of where you have been.

4 Jun 2020