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Wednesday 3, November

The recent City of Melbourne abolishment of library fines has been regarded as a victory by most locals but for Martin, a 75 year old Melbourne City resident said, “the abolishment of library fines is not enough, a reform of borrowing should be extended to having books delivered to elderly residents.”

Martin’s statement is supported by an existing library book delivery system in place in Canberra.

ACT Minister for Transport and City Services Chris Steel said this service is “reserved for Canberrans who can’t physically make it to branches because of a disability, illness or limited mobility, anyone can order a Mystery Box.  [Mystery Boxes] can include books or DVDs, across categories like mystery, thriller, romance, children’s picture books and many more.”

Just as Councillor Jamal Hakim took took an interest in one community member’s concern regarding library fines, Martin can only hope Jamal may follow Canberra’s approach to delivering library books.

According to the annual National and States Libraries Australia statistics report for 2019 - 2020, “in-person visits to library facilities were curbed by restrictions around COVID-19, resulting in a 24% decrease in attendances. The subsequent uptake of online resources and services saw a 23% increase in visits to public library websites”.

With these stats in mind it may well the City of Melbourne to take note of Martin’s suggestion to introduce a library delivery system in order to mitigate the restriction in place for in-person visits to libraries during lock downs.

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