News & Events

Libraries will open at Covid-19 Alert Level 2, but not straight away

Tuesday May 12 2020

Palmerston North City Library is beloved by our community, seeing up to 904,000 physical visitors across seven facilities and the Mobile Library every year.

Photo shows exterior of Central Library building from the Square.

The Central Library won't reopen until Wednesday 20 May, but you'll be able to return books from 8am on Thursday 14 May, using the after-hours returns slots on George Street and the Square.

Palmerston North City Council Chief Customer Officer, Chris Dyhrberg, says although our doors have been closed since 22 March, this hasn’t deterred residents from continuing to use the library’s extensive range of digital services.

“Our digital library has remained open, giving residents access to more than 35,000 e-books, e-audiobooks, magazines, and the online learning service. The Children’s Digital Library also offers movies, homework help, and virtual storytime,” says Mr Dyhrberg.

During Covid-19 Alert Levels 3 and 4, residents have checked out more than 11,000 e-books and e-audio, 1,400 e-magazines through RB Digital, and read close to 600 titles available on Press Reader. Residents also streamed 1,900 movies and accessed the Storybox and Tumblebooks databases more than 600 times.

Throughout this time, residents have been able to join the library online, check-out times have been automatically extended, and all fees and charges suspended.

There will be changes to how libraries operate for some time to come

Mr Dyhrberg says Council has a robust safety plan in place which includes a phased reopening of the City Library sites.

“Central, Ashhurst and Awapuni libraries will open on Wednesday 20 May, followed by Roslyn and Te Patikitiki libraries the following week, Wednesday 27 May.

“Our libraries will be open from Wednesday to Saturday at reduced hours until at least June. Residents can find opening hours on the City Library website.”

Before lockdown residents were asked to hold on to all checked-out items, which equates to roughly 50,000 items to be returned. Returns chutes at the Central Library (both on the Square and George Street) will reopen from 8am this Thursday (14 May) to enable books to be quarantined before being returned to the shelves ready for the next reader.

During Alert Level 2 the library experience will differ from what users may be used to, with limited access required to maintain physical distancing and to complete contact tracing.

“Users may find that they will have to queue like they would at the supermarket and there is the expectation that visitors will sanitise their hands and complete a contact tracing register upon entry,” says Mr Dyhrberg.

Library facilities will undergo an extensive cleaning regime before opening and there will also be increased cleaning protocols in all areas, especially for the 20 public toilets at the Central Library.

We are resuming our Home Service for existing users of the service, with the aim of catching up on deliveries we were unable to make in April and May as soon as we can.

“We have an incredibly dedicated library team who are excited to be welcoming the community back, but we encourage library users to continue using digital services where possible.

“Please also remember patience and kindness as we continue to fine tune our processes in these unique circumstances,” says Mr Dyhrberg.

Library opening hours from Weds 20 May

Central Library

  • Wednesday: 10am to 5pm
  • Thursday: 1pm to 7pm
  • Friday: 10am to 5pm
  • Saturday: 10am to 4pm
  • Sunday to Tuesday: closed

Ashhurst and Awapuni

  • Wednesday to Friday: 10am to 5pm
  • Saturday: 10am to 1pm
  • Sunday to Tuesday: closed