As Waipā's libraries reopened this week, staff had to set up temporary work spaces to process the influx of books being returned following level 3 and 4 lockdowns.

In Te Awamutu over 1000 books were returned on Monday, adding to the more than 3700 booked returned during the previous week.

Cambridge staff had to deal with nearly 2200 book returns on Monday and they had over 6100 returns the previous week.

Some of the Waipa Library books stacked for processing after being returned following level 4 and 3 lockdown.
Some of the Waipa Library books stacked for processing after being returned following level 4 and 3 lockdown.

Council community services manager Sally Sheedy says both libraries reopened from Monday, operating 9am-5pm on weekdays.

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A limit of 50 people are allowed in the Te Awamutu library and 30 in the Cambridge library, for a maximum of 20 minutes.

"Unfortunately, magazines, newspapers, and computer terminals won't be available and residents won't be able to sit and study in the library," says Sally.

All library visitors are required to sign in before entering any council-operated facilities for contact tracing purposes. And hand-sanitising stations are set up at all entrances.

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While the doors were shut library staff were carrying out stocktakes of library books.

And while readers couldn't access the physical collection, a staggering number of people took advantage of the free e-resources in place until this week.

Sally says over March e-resource loans were up from 162 in 2019 to 673 this year, in April 1867 titles were borrowed compared to 356 in the same month last year and until the end of last week 1246 titles compared to 241 last year. This represents an increase of 418 per cent.

About 84 per cent of loans were eBooks and the remainder were Audiobooks.

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Residents can take advantage of its digital collection at www.collection.tamuseum.org.nz/explore