The doors of the Cambridge and Te Awamutu libraries as well as the Te Awamutu Museum, will remain shut throughout Alert Level 3 but free e-resources are still available.

Waipā District Council has resumed many of its services, projects and operations since the country moved to Alert Level 3 this week. However, its community facilities will stay closed until further notice.

New Zealand will stay at Level 3 until Cabinet makes further decisions on May 11.
Council community services manager Sally Sheedy said according to Government criteria, all public facilities across the country must remain closed at Alert Level 3.

"At this stage the risk of Covid-19 is still very high which means all our facilities need to remain shut for the safety of our staff and residents.

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"We are however preparing to partially reopen our facilities at Level 2 but this is dependent on advice from the Government when we get to that stage."

Sheedy said library and museum staff were carrying out stocktakes of library books and of the extensive Museum collection in preparation for reopening.

"Staff are also looking at alternate ways in which we can safely reopen such as a call and collect service for the libraries. The museum staff meanwhile, have been working to digitise our education programmes."

While the libraries remain shut, library users can access databases and e-resources for free at www.waipalibraries.org.nz.

The libraries are also posting virtual activities, competitions, book club sessions and readings regularly to their Facebook page, www.facebook.com/waipadistrictlibraries.

Sheedy said the numbers of eBooks and Audiobooks on loan had skyrocketed compared to the same time last year.

"We have seen a staggering number of people take advantage of our free e-resources, which is fantastic. We know the lockdown period has been very hard for a lot of residents and we wanted to ensure they would still have access to reading and listening material."

E-resource loans are up by more than 440 per cent on April 2019 with a total of 1666 titles currently active compared to 307 in the same month last year. Of those titles 1404 are eBooks and 262 Audiobooks.

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The most popular titles include Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J.K. Rowling, The Sun Sister (The Seven Sisters) by Lucinda Riley and Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins.

Residents wanting to become library members can sign up emailing waipalibraries@waipadc.govt.nz with their name, address and contact details.
While the Te Awamutu Museum is closed, residents are encouraged to take advantage of its digital collection at www.collection.tamuseum.org.nz/explore.

The museum is also posting collection objects, virtual exhibitions and activities to its Facebook, www.facebook.com/TeAwamutuMuseum.