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Library life slowly returns to normal

Denise Rapkins and Bev Santacaterina
Denise Rapkins and Bev Santacaterina in the revamped Children's space at the Childers Library

It’s been a month since library doors across the Bundaberg region reopened and life is slowly returning to normal.

Childers branch librarian, Denise Rapkins said many of the regular patrons were ecstatic to see a return to reading.

She said feedback from patrons recognised the loss that was felt by people during coronavirus as they came to terms with limited access to print books, free internet, library spaces, real world story times and other programs.

“Our borrowers were very happy to see us open again,” Ms Rapkins said.

“Many have commented they had come to the end of their reading material, so we literally saved their lives.”

Although access to print books has returned, Library Services Manager, Peta Browne said libraries around the municipality were still working at a reduced capacity due to COVID restrictions.

“Libraries are currently open for borrowing and returning only, and the number of people allowed in at any one time is capped,” Ms Browne said.

“Bundaberg and Childers Libraries can have 20 patrons at one time, Gin Gin Library can have 10, and Woodgate four.

“The restrictions have meant we are not able to offer a full range of library services yet, but it has allowed us to develop an interesting and robust suite of online programming to continue to engage our community.

“In particular, we have been able to ensure that children still get to experience the joys of story times and crafts, and that we continue our commitment to helping people develop their digital literacies with online technology sessions.

“The use of our eServices, including eBooks, eMagazines, eMusic has grown, and we have loved showing people these great services which they can continue to enjoy into the future.”

At Childers and Gin Gin libraries WiFi services are still available and Ms Rapkins said it could be strategically accessed from outside.

She explained that much of the collection had been updated during the library’s closure and there was even a revamped children’s section.

 “We do not encourage people to linger in the library, therefore our WiFi stays on 24 hours every day so people can sit outside the library to use it,” Ms Rapkins said.

“It even reaches out to the car parks for those who would like to sit in the comfort of their car to use their smart devices.”

“We are slowly getting back to normal as people realise, we are now open again. Families are starting to bring little ones in to pick books again and have a short play in our revamped children’s section.  

“The “Green Spot” Books especially aimed at developing children’s reading levels have all been replaced, giving a greater option for young students to take home readers to practice their skills.”

Bundaberg Regional Libraries staff thanked visitors for abiding by coronavirus restrictions.

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