With many libraries closing their doors last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Port Stephens Council is encouraging locals to rediscover their library as part of Library & Information Week from 17 to 23 May 2021.
Council’s Library Services Manager Kris Abbott says libraries play an important role in communities.
“Modern libraries are about so much more than books. They are vibrant and inclusive community hubs, bringing people together from all walks of life.
“Gone are the imposing stacks of books and the stereotypical librarian telling everyone to ‘shush’! These have been replaced by low shelving, comfy seats, dedicated children’s spaces and charging stations for phones and tablets.
“We have weekly programs for babies and toddlers where we don’t just welcome the normal noise of childhood, we encourage it! We also have programs for all ages like technology help, craft classes, book clubs, school holiday activities, after school programs and much more.
“Free Wi-Fi, computers and scanning facilities are available. Quality photocopying and printing is also available at a low cost. You can even send your printing directly from a smartphone or tablet at Port Stephens libraries.
“Modern libraries loan a wide range of material — not just books! Think DVDs, CDs, magazines, games, technology kits and even garden seeds. We also have an extensive digital library of eBooks, eMagazines, eAudiobooks, online newspapers and more.
“Our staff have undergone a transformation too. Today’s library staff are tech-savvy, enthusiastic and helpful professionals who can help you to find information on just about any topic you could imagine.
“So if you haven’t been in for a while, or ever, we’d love to see you at one of our local libraries!”
Ms Abbott says one of the highlights of Library & Information Week is National Simultaneous Storytime on Wednesday 19 May 2021.
“On this special day of the year at 11am, libraries all over Australia read one book together with over a million children combined.
“In Port Stephens, we’ll have some special guests reading the chosen book ‘Give me some Space!’ to children at our libraries.
“It’s about Una, a girl who dreams of finding life in outer space and travelling the solar system. But is it all she imagined it would be?
“As an extra special surprise, the book has been sent on a rocket to be read from the International Space Station!”
Ms Abbott says Port Stephens libraries are taking this opportunity to ask visitors what they love about their library or suggest opportunities for improvement.
“We want our libraries to be welcoming and inclusive places for everyone — where you can learn something new, get involved in your community and have some fun!
“Every year we ask our users to tell us how satisfied they are with our services. This year we’re also asking people who aren’t current members what would encourage them to return, as we’d love to see even more people rediscover their local library.
“The survey takes just 8 minutes to complete and all responses are anonymous. I’d encourage everyone to give us your feedback to help make our libraries even better,” she said.
The Library User Satisfaction Survey is open until 5pm Friday 18 June 2021 at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/PSC-LSS2021