Library gains international audience

BY DI SNEDDON

Already recognised as one of the best libraries in the state, Singleton Library reached a whole new audience during Covid lockdown.

Shutting its doors on March 24, staff had to find new ways to continue to connect with its members and they did this with imagination and flair.

Between March 24and May 21, staff produced 52 videos which have been watched for 25,632 minutes. 

From listening to early literacy officer Lee Croucher online for storytime to watching craft projects kids and adults could recreate at home, library engagement connected with a whole new audience.

The statistics speak for themselves.  Online connection with the community increased by 332 per cent with a reach of 26,200 people.

Online digital loans increased by 200 percent indicating the need for people to escape reality in the pages of books, tones of music and engagement in movies.

However physical loans reduced by two thirds despite staff developing strategies to deliver books to homes and offer a click and collect model to members.

The delivery role was taken on by staff, one that had previously been carried out by volunteers and one that they will hopefully resume soon, once restrictions allow.

“We traditionally have a thank you lunch for the volunteers during ‘Volunteer Week” but even this had to be postponed,” said Council’s Director Business and Community Services Director Anthony Eagan.

Meanwhile, it is the community who is now taking the time to thank library staff.  During the lockdown, staff made 220 deliveries to households, there were 2277 locals.  Ninety-five members took advantage of the click and collect taking out 937 loans.

Library staff also took the time to phone their regular older members to check on their wellbeing.

But there is nothing like seeing their members in person so the reduction of restrictions that allowed the library to open its doors once again was very much a welcomed move.

*This story was published on Friday, July 3 2020.