Physical access to real books again welcomed

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Books are the go again across the Central Otago and Queenstown Lakes district as libraries opened their doors on Monday.

Central Otago collections manager Nikki Williams said all seven libraries in the Central Otago district in Alexandra, Clyde, Cromwell, Maniototo, Millers Flat, Omakau and Roxburgh were open on Monday.
‘‘We are offering most of our usual services, with the exception being programmes such as class visits and book clubs,’’ Mrs Williams said.
‘‘We will resume these as soon as we are able.’’
Visitors to the libraries needed to sanitise their hands and provide details for contact tracing.
Shelving and furniture had been rearranged to provide more space for social distancing.

The libraries were following guidelines sent by the National Library of New Zealand in consultation with the Ministry of Health to quarantine returned books, Mrs Williams said
‘‘All items being returned by borrowers are held in dated bins for 72 hours before discharging them and making them available for re-issue.’’

The council was using a contact tracing app called Checkin-19 created by Invercargill company Digital Stock.
Chief executive Jim Dowling said the app was built with a high level of privacy and although contact details were captured, they were hidden securely and would only be used if contact tracing was needed by the Ministry of Health.

QLDC general manager community services Thunes Cloete said library buildings in Arrowtown, Frankton, Hawea, Queenstown and Wanaka were open, but Glenorchy, Kingston and Makarora libraries were unable to open at present as their more limited space did not allow for the required physical distancing under Alert Level 2.
Additional measures were being implemented to allow these venues to reopen later in the month, he said.

In lockdown the shared Queenstown Lakes-Central Otago libraries website received more than 31,000 views in April compared with a previous average of about 11,000 a month.
In addition, children’s story time readings took place via Facebook videos that collectively received more than 8000 views.
Local library members viewed more than 165,000 online articles and streamed 861 films last month (usually about 150) via apps.