After closing its library doors to the public on 20 March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Murrindindi Shire Council launched its new ‘book butler’ service on 25 March. Since then the Murrindindi Library Service has helped over 200 library members get access to books and other items to get them through the new ‘stay at home’ restrictions.
Cr Rebecca Bowles, Portfolio Councillor for Environment, Library Services and Information Technology, said she was thrilled with the response from the community to this new service.
‘I know our library staff were devastated by the news that branches were closing and were so pleased to be able to offer a safe alternative service for members.
‘Our customer service team has been receiving initial enquiries and then our library staff has been contacting library members by phone to see what they are looking for. This is where the library team get to have a chat with the people they would ordinarily see coming through the library branch doors to see how they are travelling.
‘While the books are important, the social connections libraries offer are equally special, so it is great the team can stay in touch with their regulars’, added Cr Bowles.
‘The library team is then dropping items around to our members’ homes – safely and while maintaining the appropriate social distance, of course’.
‘Items to keep the kids busy and happy during the school holidays are proving popular, alongside the usual suspects of light fiction and some more serious reading material. And of course there are also requests for DVDs and audio material for those who prefer those formats’, said Cr Bowles
‘If you are interested in getting hold of some library items, give us a call. Don’t worry if you aren’t a member – we can sign you up over the phone. Just call us on 5772 0333 between 9 am – 5 pm Monday to Friday and the team will do its best to find some items to keep you entertained’.
‘And don’t forget there is always a wealth of e-material waiting for you on our website, which you can borrow and access on a range of devices, 24/7. These include Story Box Library and TumbleBooks for kids; RB Digital for a wide range of magazines and BorrowBox and OverDrive for e-Books and e-Audiobooks.
‘Keep in mind that our online book catalogue isn’t much help to you now as we can’t get many of the books listed there which might well be sitting in a branch we can’t currently access. But we are sure our staff can make some great suggestions for you from what we hold on our shelves’.
‘One more thing – once you have received a delivery of our library books or other items, we are asking you to please hold on to them until we return to business as usual. As our branches are closed (and our after-hours library return chutes are not in use) we can’t accept returned items at the moment. All loans will be extended automatically to 30 June. We will be back in touch about returning items when the situation changes.
‘It’s important to stay at home, practice good hand hygiene and observe social distancing advice. That way, you will keep yourself – and everyone else – safe. I hope everyone has an enjoyable Easter break – stay safe and stay home’, added Cr Bowles.