New chapter as library re-opens
By Stephen Holland
GALWAY City Library is “delighted to be re-opening” after being closed since last January.
Since Monday of this week, libraries across the county have been able to open Covid-19 restrictions have been eased.
Siobhán Arkins, acting senior executive librarian in Galway City Library, said limited browsing is now allowed and they are excited to be welcoming people back through their doors.
“We’ve missed our library patrons so much. We’ve been working behind closed doors, a lot of us on site most of the week, some people working from home one or two days a week.”
“Throughout the lockdown we’ve found a huge upsurge of people joining the library to gain access to online resources. But we’re delighted to actually getting back to meeting people in person as opposed to dealing with phone enquiries or emails,” she said.
While libraries had been closed to the public, many continued to offer services online, with Galway City Library organising book clubs and competitions for the public.
Ms Arkins outlined how the library engaged with both young and old during lockdown.
“We had a lot of online reading groups and a creative writing competition called Lockdown Diaries. That was for older people throughout Galway.”
“We asked people to write a little bit about their experience of lockdown over the last year. Those pieces are going to feature in an anthology which will be published later this year.
“It will be a great memory for posterity, a written record of what life was like that people can share with their children or grandchildren for years to come,” she said.
Ms Arkins said the library is particularly excited to resume services for families with children.
“We’ll have a summer reading programme for children as we always do; parents and kids are very excited about that,”she said.
“We’ve just launched two children’s online book groups which is new for us. They’ll meet the last Friday of each month going forward for the rest of the year. There’s about 20 children signed up for that, so we’re thrilled.”
One enthusiastic bookworm Harry Fenton, who is just five- years-old, said he cannot wait to check out some books and get reading. “I love books and I love going to the library. I want to read them all,” he added.
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