Library lovers panic borrow

Gisborne Library staff wave goodbye as they prepare to close their doors for six weeks.

Forget panic buying toilet paper – panic book borrowing was higher on the agenda for many as libraries state-wide prepared for their second COVID-19 shutdown last week.
Libraries were inundated with bookworms hoping to take home a tall enough pile of reading material to keep them occupied during the service’s six-week closure.
Goldfields Library Corporation CEO Mark Hands said local libraries experienced a busy three-day period in the lead up to Thursday with the number of typical book check-outs doubling and queues at the door.
“We’re calling it our ‘toilet paper moment’ – instead of people panic buying toilet paper they have been ‘panic borrowing’,” Mr Hands said.
But unlike some panic buyers, Mr Hands said library visitors had been “very orderly and very polite”.
“Normally we would have about 25 per cent of the collection on loan but currently it is just over 50 per cent,” he said.
“People have been grabbing books and materials from their favourite areas and we have seen people queuing outside libraries. Everyone in our communities has been very thankful and appreciative of our library service.”
Children’s books were popular with Woodend Library reporting possibly one of the longest self-checkout receipts staff had seen that included about 60 picture books.
“Woodend lends a maximum of 25 per cent of its collection at any one time, this week over 50 per cent is on loan and and on Tuesday Emma (librarian) lent over 1600 items,” said Lulu Cockram, Woodend’s branch manager.
As Gisborne Library staff said goodbye, librarians reported loaning out “as many books these past few days as they would normally do in a month”.
Castlemaine librarians noted people were “certainly making good use” of the few days notice before closure.
All libraries (and home library delivery services) are now closed and are expected to remain closed until at least Sunday, September 13, in line with the Victorian Government’s re-introduction of Stage 3 restrictions to slow the spread of coronavirus.
Library lovers can still connect to their local branch with several remote options and activities available.
Some of the services still available include: online programs and events including storytimes (via Zoom, YouTube and Facebook) and electronic resources such as ebooks, audiobooks, digital magazines and newspapers, online family history resources, learning at home resources, online movies and TV, online kids’ activities and wellbeing activities.
And for those who miss having a friendly chat with their favourite librarian, they are still offering to take calls, all you need to do is leave a message with your details and they will return your call.
“We understand that our libraries provide a vital community service, so please stay connected via our social media channels and check our website for up-to-date information,” Mr Hands said.
“We look forward to welcoming you back to the library as soon as we safely can.”

Shelves that are normally well stocked have been happily ‘raided’ for the stage 3 coronavirus lockdown.
Some loan receipts were a metre long at Woodend Library.
A local resident stocks up on books at Woodend Library.