28 May 2020

More than 120,000 books are back on Christchurch City Libraries shelves after one week.

However, a significant number of the loans prior to the lockdown period remain outstanding.

Christchurch City Council Head of Libraries and Information Carolyn Robertson says customers will not face any fines over post-lockdown “overdue” books if they are back by 15 June.

“With the long weekend coming up, we are asking people to check around their homes for any books or other library items that may have been forgotten while our libraries have been closed to the public,” Ms Robertson says.

“Thousands of items have already been returned in our first week, and we are thrilled with the response to our reopening.

“We have extended the loan period for all of those outstanding items – due from 22 March – to 15 June. However, there will be fines for any late returns from 16 June.”

During the lockdown period, more than 223,000 items were on loan from Christchurch City Libraries.

In the first week following the reopening to the public, customers returned 54 per cent of the outstanding items and 446 new members joined the library.

“We usually see a rush of borrowers just before the Queen’s Birthday holiday as readers check out books for the long weekend,” Ms Robertson says.

“We thought it was timely to remind people to return items as they picked up their new books.”

After an initial flurry of activity, there are now more items being issued than returned.

In the first week back, South proved the busiest library with 14,093 items issued, followed by Fendalton (9055) and Tūranga (8022). In tandem, they recorded the most returns.

In total, 2382 people joined the library between 24 March and 18 May, more than double the normal number. During April, library members borrowed 74,686 eBooks and eAudiobooks, compared with 40,746 in the corresponding period last year.

All libraries will close on Monday, June 1 for the Queen’s Birthday holiday.

However, they will be open during their regular weekend times.