Reopening of libraries proves popular

More than 1100 visitors, 2500 items borrowed and 4800 returned – the reopening of Cairns Libraries on the weekend proved extremely popular.

All eight Cairns Libraries branches opened for the first time on Saturday following their closure in March as part of coronavirus restrictions.

Cairns Mayor Bob Manning said libraries are an important part of the community and welcomed their reopening.

“The response to the opening of libraries over the weekend shows just how important these facilities are to the community,” Cr Manning said.

“People were obviously eager to return their borrowed books for new titles, and it was great to hear that patrons were patient and understanding of the restrictions in place.”

Cairns City branch was open Saturday and Sunday and attracted 319 visitors.

The remaining branches opened Saturday only, with Smithfield the most popular with 236 visitors, followed by Earlville (190) and Stratford (156).

Libraries are only open for borrowing, returning and the registration of new memberships at this time.

Other services, such as use of PCs and Wi-Fi, access to magazines and newspapers, and events and programs remain unavailable due to coronavirus restrictions.

Council has implemented a number of protocols to ensure the safety of library users, including the quarantining of returned items for at least 72 hours, encouraging the use of sanitation stations upon entering and leaving the facility, and staff are using gloves to handle all items.

To minimise the time visitors spend in branches, Council urges people to reserve their books online ( and use the self-checkout facilities.

Borrowed items should be returned via the after-hours returns chute and residents are urged to continue using online services where possible to avoid long queues and delays.

The Australian Library and Information Association, as the national peak body, has been providing Council with direction and guidance.

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