Traditionally, the first day the library doors open in the new year is the busiest, as holiday makers descend to one of Tauranga City Libraries to pick up the most necessary beach companion – a book.
However, 2020 wasn’t a typical year. So when the doors opened on 3 January 2020 and 5,836 books were issued, the team had no idea that the busiest days were yet to come.
Libraries Manager, Joanna Thomas, said COVID-19 brought a new dimension and as soon as the country knew it was going into lockdown there was a flurry of activity at all Tauranga libraries.
“On 21 March, we issued 7312 items in one day. We couldn’t quite believe it, but then that record only lasted until 14 August and we issued an incredible 9998 items in one day.”
The challenges of COVID-19 meant that the libraries had to adapt their services and make more resources available online. There was a significant increase in the use of e-lending platforms, and programmes and activities that were usually in person were held on social media or in virtual classrooms.
During lockdown, members also accessed over 16,000 eBooks and 40,000 newspaper articles. And new movie streaming platform, Beamafilm had 508 downloads in its first two weeks. Since then it has had over 7000 views. The team also managed to hold 286 events, programmes and presentations online with 31,198 people attending. Over the two months, 368 new library members signed up online, bringing the total number of members to over 42,000.
When the doors re-opened in May, it became evident just how much Tauranga locals love their libraries.
“We had over 70,000 items out on loan since March, so as you can imagine there was quite the queue to get back into the library. It was great to see lots of familiar faces visiting us again. For our community, coming into the library to borrow a book, use the internet, attend an event or programme or simply just connect with someone else was a lifeline after isolating,” she said.
Heading into Christmas holidays the library team is anticipating another busy period. With the annual summer reading programmes in full swing.
“Summer holidays are a great time to improve reading skills, so children feel confident when heading back to school in the new year. If you want to take part in the programme – suitable for young children through to teens – parents can pick up a summer reading booklet from any Tauranga City Library.”
“Who knows, maybe another record will be broken in 2021 when we first open our doors in the new year,” said Joanna.
Other fun facts
- The most reserved children’s title is currently Dog Man: Lord of the Fleas by Dav Pilkey.
- The most reserved young adult’s title is currently These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong.
- The most reserved adult’s titles are currently Chelsea Winter’s plant-based cookbook Supergood and The Sentinel by Lee Child.
- Library users can now reserve/hold a book online at no charge
- Anyone can now explore Tauranga’s rich history at the new Pae Korikī: Tauranga archives online.
- Try out our new streaming service called Medici.TV. Library members can enjoy viewing world class operas, ballets and classical music performances from their own device.
Tauranga City Libraries close from 12 noon on Thursday, 24 December. They will be open usual hours between 29 and 31 December, and then not again until Tuesday, 5 January 2021.
More information on Tauranga City Libraries