Inner West Independent

Inner West library services set to reopen next week

Street Libraries have been essential for book lovers while library services have been shut. Photo: Street Library.

By EVA BAXTER

Inner West library click and collect and home delivery services will be reopened on Monday September 20, or the week commencing.

The library services were shut under the NSW government’s Public Health Order. Libraries are categorised separately from retail, for which click & collect and delivery has been permissible.

An exemption to the Health Order was granted by Health Minister Brad Hazzard on Monday September 13. Inner West Council made the decision in their meeting on September 14 to set the reopening date to Monday September 20th.

50% of the library staff currently work in a hotspot area and are required to be vaccinated before continuing work in the Inner West.

Council is in the process of establishing the vaccination status of the staff that live in those areas.

The services will start with the Council’s main branch libraries, which include Ashfield, Balmain, Leichhardt, and Marrickville.

Book-lovers

Clare Nada’s local library is Marrickville. She told the Independent while the library services have been closed, she has been relying on Booktopia and Street Libraries, as well as re-reading old favourites.

Her favourite book is Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel, which she re-read this year “to travel in time and place during lockdown.”

She is keen to explore the library again to find random discoveries.

The Street Library outside Jillian’s parents house. Jillian’s all time favourite book is Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. Photo: Supplied.

Jillian Kershaw works in Aged Care. She told the Independent “a couple of homecare clients rely on a regular delivery service from their local library, which has been put on hold. They are going a bit stir crazy and commented they are sick of reading the same books multiple times, so we ended up ordering some books online plus I lent them some books.

“I think a click and collect service is essential for our community, especially when people have limited funds and so much free time if they are unable to work.

“Reading is a great way to ground yourself and help to switch off from the stress and madness of lockdown,” she said.

Jillian’s two-year-old daughter loves books. One morning, Jillian asked her whether she would like toast or yoghurt for breakfast, and her daughter replied with the title of her favourite book.

Street-libraries

The Street Libraries were invented pre-COVID, but took on a life of their own during lockdowns, according to Cecile Schuldiener, General Manager of Street Libraries.

She told the Independent people are walking the streets more, and want to contribute to the local community they have to stay within five kms of.

“I think it’s a real comfort for people to know that when their public libraries are closed, they can go in search of a Street Library, and now there’s so many around they can go on a Street Library tour of their local neighbourhood,’ she said.

Street Library has 3,200 currently registered Street Libraries and aims to have 5,000 by December.

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