12 May 2020

Libraries will start to reopen to the public in Christchurch from Friday.

However, the library layout will be different and you may have to wait before you can enter to pick up a book, check out a resource or ask for help.

Christchurch City Council Head of Libraries and Information Carolyn Robertson says that staff have been working hard behind the scenes to adapt the library spaces for use during Alert Level 2.

Key points for library visits:

  • If you feel unwell, please stay at home. The Digital Library is open 24/7.
  • Some services will not be available, including computer or printing help.
  • Check the Christchurch City Libraries website to find the opening hours for each site.
  • You may have to wait to enter the library, as numbers will be restricted.
  • The duration of your visit may also be restricted.
  • You will need to use hand sanitiser on entry.
  • You will need to sign in and out when you visit the library to support contact tracing.
  • An adult must accompany children aged 12 and under.
  • Library users must maintain a two-metre distance from others, including staff.
  • Screens may be in place at some counters.
  • Some shared resources, such as toys, will not be available for use.

“For so many people, our libraries provide vital community connections and resources,” Ms Robertson says.

“It’s a place that gives people a purpose – from a trip out for our older members to books and resources to support learning at all ages.

“Our libraries will continue to provide these critical services but we need to enforce two-metre social distancing rules to help keep everyone safe,” she says.

“We are introducing a range of measures, including restricting the number of people within library spaces at any one time, along with the duration of visits.

“We also need to meet contact tracing requirements, so all visitors will need to sign in – and out.

“With these safeguards in place, and in line with national guidelines, we will follow our standard practice of shelving items as soon as they are returned. Customers can wash and dry their hands or use hand sanitiser when using library items at home for the first couple of days after issue if they are concerned.

“While we are thrilled that our libraries will be accessible again, we have a responsibility to our library users and staff, and some protective screens may be in place.”

In order to manage the reopening of Council services, those libraries in buildings that also house service centres and other community facilities – along with the central library, Tūranga – will be open from Friday morning. All libraries will be open to the public from Monday, 18 May, except for Shirley Library, which remains closed for refurbishment.

“However, people who are feeling unwell need to stay home and use our Digital Library, which will remain open to everyone,” Ms Robertson says.

The Librarian in your Lounge service will also stay open online for those who prefer to remain home.

An adult must accompany children aged 12 and under, and regular library events and programmes may not be available.

The following libraries will be open on Friday: Papanui, South (Beckenham), Fendalton, Linwood, Te Hāpua: Halswell Centre, Hornby, Tūranga, Upper Riccarton, New Brighton, Ōrauwhata: Bishopdale, Little River and Lyttelton.