Libraries open their doors

New reading: Steph Tsai, holding Blossom, mother-in-law Ellen Webb, holding Blossom's twin, Goldie (five months old) with Hank (4) and Ches (2) in Katoomba library.
New reading: Steph Tsai, holding Blossom, mother-in-law Ellen Webb, holding Blossom's twin, Goldie (five months old) with Hank (4) and Ches (2) in Katoomba library.

Stuck at home re-reading all the same old books has been the fate of Steph Tsai, along with many others in the Mountains.

So when she heard that the library was reopening, Ms Tsai was keen to get some new material for her children.

Waiting only until she had someone to help - with five-month-old twins, a two-year-old and a four-year-old, it's difficult to venture out on her own - Ms Tsai made straight for Katoomba library.

"I heard it had reopened on Monday," she said. "So I came in as soon as I had help."

Ms Tsai usually goes to the library once a week, for story time. While that has not yet restarted, she armed herself with a large pile of borrowed books stowed under the pram.

Staff have been overwhelmed by the response to the libraries in Katoomba and Springwood being reopened, said Community, Library and Customer Services Manager, Vicki Edmunds.

"We had patrons who said that not being able to use the library was the worst thing about the COVID-19 lockdown."

The Pop Up Library @ Home initiative, launched in April, meant those who were self-isolating and had limited access to the library's online resources could get books and DVDs delivered to their door.

"Staff enjoyed being able to deliver this service during the height of the pandemic," Ms Edmunds said. "We were inundated with feedback from recipients, saying the service was 'amazing' and thanking us for 'brightening the days'."

Library staff also delivered online content such as Online Storytime and Online Babytime.

"These initiatives have showcased how talented our librarians are and we've been able to continue to provide invaluable services to our community, during a period of great uncertainty," Ms Edmunds said.