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Wollongong City Council

Welcome back to our libraries

Monday 1 June 2020

Wollongong City Libraries will have a staged reopening from Tuesday 2 June, in line with an updated NSW Public Health Order.

All Wollongong City Libraries – with the exception of Wollongong Library – will be open to the community from Tuesday, and people can book in for a visit from Monday 1 June. Wollongong Library will remain closed until 9 June to allow maintenance work – brought forward to make the most of the forced closure – to be completed.

Council’s libraries closed on Tuesday 24 March as part of a nation-wide approach to reduce the spread of coronavirus or COVID-19. During the closure, staff have continued to support the community through online interactions and the websites.

“I know our community will welcome the news these popular community spaces are reopening, but visiting will continue to be a different experience for some time yet,’’ Wollongong City Lord Mayor Councillor Gordon Bradbery AM said.

“I’d ask people to be aware, to be patient and to follow the advice of staff to ensure their time in the library or gallery is as enjoyable and safe as possible.

“Coronavirus continues to be an issue, and a risk, for our community and it’s essential we stay vigilant of ways to stop its spread. This includes reducing the number of people who can be in the library at any one time, to provide adequate space for people to be physically distant and asking our customers to stay home if they’re unwell.

“We’re not out of the woods yet with this virus. Our focus has always been, and continues to be, the health, wellbeing and safety of our staff and volunteers, their families and our community. We need to continue to support one another.’’

When libraries at Helensburgh, Thirroul, Corrimal Unanderra, Dapto and Warrawong open on Tuesday they will operate to pre-Coronavirus hours and be open from Monday to Saturday. However, as with Council’s Continental, Dapto and Corrimal pools, people will need to book in for a visit directly with the library they’re looking to visit.

There will be a limit on numbers in each library, and when booking their 50-minute visit people will be required to provide their name and contact details, inline with the NSW State Government’s guidelines, to allow for future contact, should a Coronavirus case be linked to one of Council’s facilities.

“We have limits placed on each of our libraries based on the Government guidelines,’’ Cr Bradbery said.

“Rather than offering our booking online, which is not accessible to all in our community, we will take bookings over the phone and directly with the library you’d like to visit.

“There will be an enhanced cleaning regime, everyone will be asked to sanitise their hands prior to entry and there will be no public programs on offer or access to newspapers.’’

Limited computer facilities will only be available at Wollongong Library once it reopens, and physical distancing requirements means staff support to operate the computers will be unavailable.

While our Community Centres remain closed at this time, Council has plans in place to support the reopening of Thirroul, Dapto and Corrimal libraries.

During the closure period, the libraries continued to offer a range of services online – picking up a 117 percent increase on eBook loans, a 51 percent increase on eAudiobook loans, and a 41 per cent increase on movie streaming through Kanopy. A further 306 people signed up for memberships.

“The level of interaction with our libraries over the past two months has shown just how much the community values the services offered across our seven libraries,’’ Cr Bradbery said.

“I hope that those people who have signed up as new members now have the opportunity to come inside our libraries and make the most of what’s on offer. In addition, those who’ve borrowed virtually continue to do so.

“Libraries are part of the community’s social fabric and the level of engagement in the virtual world of late demonstrates this.’’

Wollongong Art Gallery remains closed due to urgent repair works to its front entrance doors. The doors were damaged when a large blue gum in the gallery’s front garden bed was brought down in strong winds over Easter. A reopening date for the Gallery will be confirmed when the works wrap up. It’s estimated this will be completed by July.

For more information and updates on changes to Council’s services, please visit our dedicated Coronavirus updates page.

Corrimal Library – 15 Short Street, Corrimal. Ph: 4227 8179

Dapto Library – 93-109 Princes Highway, Dapto. Ph: 4227 8555

Helensburgh Library – 57 Walker Street, Helensburgh. Ph: 4294 2185

Thirroul Library – 352-358 Lawrence Hargrave Drive, Thirroul. Ph: 4227 8191

Unanderra Library – Cnr Factory Rd & Princes Highway, Unanderra. Ph: 4271 1217

Warrawong Library – Level 1, 67-71 King Street, Warrawong. Ph: 4227 8133

Wollongong Library – remains closed at this time.