A whole new world

Remember when you were a kid and libraries were quiet places where you got shushed?
Libraries these days are so much more than just books on shelves (don’t worry though, there are still plenty of books!). Modern libraries are active community spaces with creative and engaging programs for all ages, shared and welcoming spaces for all, and all sorts of supports including help with technology, research, family and local history, and more. But all of a sudden, with coronavirus, our libraries are once again quiet places with books on shelves, but no one able to enjoy them!
“While we would love to be able to still offer access to physical books and collections, we are following strict medical, government and industry advice and are putting staff and community safety first,” said Goldfields Libraries CEO Mark Hands.
So, what happens when you take books and spaces away from library services? Well, as it turns out, a lot!
Librarians are a creative bunch who love serving the needs of their communities and they have been busy behind the scenes creating different ways you can access wonderful resources and connect with your local library, whether you are connected online or not.
“We’re really missing our patrons, and we know they are missing us,” said Lucy Mayes, manager of engagement for Goldfields Libraries.
“We want our community to know that we are still here, working hard to connect with them, and connect them to the amazing library services we can still offer, whether that be through a simple social phone chat, some help with research or technology, or help getting and staying connected online.
“We also have an amazing treasure trove of online children’s and adults programs and resources, including non-digital activities for wellbeing, curiosity, learning and creativity, ebooks, audiobooks, movies, magazines, newspapers, language classes and more. And it’s all free! There has never been a better time to join your library.”
Lesley, who regularly visits the Romsey Library and borrows physical audiobooks to listen to with her husband, said that although she wasn’t very confident with computers, with some help from her local librarian Trish she was able to download and use the BorrowBox app.
“Last night I was sitting on the couch looking through the catalogue of choices. It’s opened up a whole new world for us! “We can continue to enjoy our audio stories despite the disruption in access to the collection. It made our day!”
Goldfields Libraries will also be collecting and collating the social ‘history in the making’ of this moment in time. The Life in Lockdown project team will be inviting contributions from all community members through some special mini-campaigns (e.g. Letter to my pre-covid self) and want your photography, art, writing, journaling, poetry and more – anything that captures this moment for generations to come. All of this will be collated into a blog, book and travelling exhibition.
“We really look forward to being able to re-open our libraries and offer books once again,” Mr Hands said, “but in the meantime, get in touch, get connected, jump online or give us a call to become a member, and find out more about the hidden lives of libraries.”
Call and ask your local library if you need help with a research question, help becoming more digitally connected, want to know more about the Life in Lockdown project or upcoming programs, or you’d just like someone to chat to about your favourite book or share how much you’re missing the library.
You can also keep up to date with the latest library updates and important updates by following your local library on Facebook or signing up to the eNews.
More information at www.ncgrl.vic.gov.au, or get in touch with your local library by phone:
Castlemaine: 5472 1458
Gisborne: 5428 3962
Kyneton: 5422 1635
Romsey: 5429 3086
Woodend: 5427 2074

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