My lovely little local library remains closed at the moment, but a larger one I’m also a member of has recently reopened for a few days a week. I wrote about how much I’m missing libraries during this crazy time in a previous blog post (https://www.emma-bennet.co.uk/missing-libraries), and so as soon as I heard a visit was possible, we decided to take a much-deserved mid-week day off to stock up on some new reads and take the dogs for a decent walk.
I was practically out of the car before we’d even stopped outside the library building, and it seemed to take forever to follow the signs round to the back of the building where the current entrance and exit were.
There were lots of paper bags full of books ready for customers by the entrance as for a while the library has been offering a service where if you tell them what sort of books you enjoy, they’ll pick a selection of reads for you to come and pick up at an allocated time – what a great idea to encourage people to try new authors within a genre they already love! I hope a couple of my books were popped in.
The librarians had been working hard to get a one way system and new signage organised as well as anti-bac stations. We were the only visitors, but I know that the browsing time is limited to 15 minutes in busy periods.
One big change was the addition of crates dotted around the library. These were for you to put any books you’d touched, but had decided against taking home with you – I never realised just how many books I flick through when I’m having a browse, and I felt terrible when my youngest ended up putting most of the drawing section in a crate once he’d chosen the one book he wanted to borrow!
We were also asked to check out or own books using machines, which was actually really good fun, but a library assistant was available if we needed help.
It was so wonderful to be able to browse the library shelves again. Yes, it was certainly a different experience – masks were worn, the library didn’t have its usual buzz to it, there were less librarians about to chat to, and it was so hard to remember to out every book I touched into a crate, but they’ve done an amazing job in very difficult circumstances.
Many thanks to the staff of Brecon Library, Y Gaer, for making it possible to visit again. We’ll be seeing you all again very soon.