Librarians on the front line.

Librarians on the front line.
Public Libraries of New Zealand
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Librarians on the front line.

During a crisis, librarians are there on the frontline.  They number among the unsung heroes and heroines. Often ‘second responders’ stepping up for their communities during manmade and natural disasters, like earthquakes, floods, shootings, eruptions, and financial recessions. There is nothing unusual about this, public libraries have been at the forefront of change and are quick to respond to their community’s needs whether books or bandages.

Here they are again during te Covid-19 pandemic, at testing stations, or behind the scenes helping on the phone, calling those in our community who require assistance.

Public libraries also experienced the immediate impact the lockdown on their operations, staffing, programmes and services. While libraries closed their doors to the public the majority continued, expanded or added services such as:

  • online membership
  • increased online services like e-books,, and streaming media; and
  • virtual programming (activities to do at home, storytelling, craft-making)

Library staff are taking other innovative steps to adapt and respond to community needs.

  • providing online resources (COVID-19 info packs, unemployment resources)
  • expanding access to services (fine forgiveness, extending borrowing limits, providing online assistance with research)
  • providing technology (modems through Skinny Jump, public wi-fi)


Do you have a story about one of your librarians? Send it to us and we’ll print it.

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