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Bookings required as Helensburgh, Thirroul and Corrimal libraries reopen

library 2

LIBRARIES at Helensburgh, Thirroul and Corrimal will reopen tomorrow (Tuesday, June 2) in line with an updated NSW Public Health Order.

The three northern public libraries will operate to pre-Coronavirus hours and be open from Monday to Saturday. However, as with other Wollongong City Council facilities – like Corrimal pool – people will need to book ahead for a visit, by calling the library direct.

  • Thirroul Library – 352-358 Lawrence Hargrave Drive, Thirroul. Ph: 4227 8191
  • Helensburgh Library – 57 Walker Street, Helensburgh. Ph: 4294 2185
  • Corrimal Library – 15 Short Street, Corrimal. Ph: 4227 8179

There will be a limit on numbers in each library, and when booking a 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 the library.

Wollongong Library will remain closed until June 9 to allow maintenance work – brought forward to make the most of the forced closure – to be completed.

Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery said Council’s libraries closed on Tuesday March 24 as part of a nation-wide approach to reduce the spread of coronavirus or COVID-19.

“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,’’ Cr Bradbury 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.”

Cr Bradbury said rather than offering bookings online, which is not accessible to all in the community, Council will take bookings over the phone and directly with the library.

“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,” he said.

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.

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, visit its dedicated Coronavirus updates page.


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About Mick Roberts

A Sydney journalist, writer and historian, Mick Roberts specialises in Australian cultural history, particularly associated with the Australian hotel and liquor industry. Mick has had an interest in revealing the colourful story of pubs, inns and associated industries in Australia for over 30 years. He is currently working on a comprehensive history of the hotel and liquor industry in the Illawarra region of NSW. Besides writing a number of history books, Mick has owned and managed several community newspapers. He was one time editor of the Wollongong Northern News, The Bulli Times, The Northern Times, The Northern Leader and The Local - all located in the Wollongong region. As a journalist he has worked for Rural Press, Cumberland (News Limited), Sydney based, City News, and Torch Publications based in Canterbury Bankstown, NSW. He currently calls the inner-Sydney suburb of Surry Hills home.

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