Carolyn Tunney June 2021
“I rely on the library so much”, “the library is my fix”, “I’ve spent a fortune on books”, “I will do two things today: get my hair cut and go to the library”, “It’s good to be back”. These are comments from borrowers using Roscommon Library Service during the first few weeks of re-opening.
Following are initiatives and services being offered by Roscommon Library Service since returning to the workplace and in some cases while staff were working from home: seed kits, Little Library bags, Sense-Ability, social media presence, online library resources and Age Friendly Digital Training. Library membership and all services are free-of-charge.
The Grow-It-Forward seed-kits include lettuce, peas, beetroot, carrots and tomatoes. In partnership with Healthy Ireland and Libraries Ireland the Grow It Yourself organisation are giving away seed kits. The aim is to support people across Ireland to enjoy the wide range of benefits that come from growing food at home.
The Little Library Initiative includes a bag with picture books for children, five years of age and under. The bags are being distributed to the preschools in the county. Books of the same titles are also available to borrow. The Little Library Initiative aims to develop a link between early learning and care services and their local library to encourage a love of books and reading among young children.
Sense-Ability is a project launched by Sligo, Leitrim and Roscommon Library services in the past number of months. Sense-Ability aims to offer positive library experiences for people with sensory or additional educational needs. Through consultation with professionals, extensive staff training, a programme of events and the development of new spaces and services, Sense-Ability gives everyone the ability to use library services in an inclusive and safe way. A series of six Webinars is currently underway through the three library services. Examples of the Webinar titles: Understanding Autism, creating an inclusive community; Dyslexia and Strategies for reading. A sensory space has been created and a pod has been installed in Roscommon Branch Library.
Roscommon Library Service continues to have a strong Social Media presence through Facebook and Twitter. Examples of posts/ videos are: storytelling by staff, book title suggestions and Healthy Ireland at your Library topics. Examples of Healthy Ireland topics: Understanding grief and loss, Understanding emotion.
Libraries continue to offer a wide-range of Online Resources. These include e -books, – audiobooks, -magazines, -newspapers and -courses. There has been a large increase in the use of Online Resources since March 2020.
Age Friendly Digital Training focuses on helping older people access library online resources. This service has been offered since the beginning of 2021. It is a partnership between Age Friendly Ireland and Libraries Ireland. One-on-one training sessions are delivered to the older person using Zoom or over the phone.
The library has felt busy since returning to work on Tuesday 11/05/2021. New books are arriving to the branch from Headquarters, items are being returned since December 2020 and before, there is an increased number of branch staff and Covid-19 protection measures continue to be in place. The increase in branch staff is a result of staff being recruited to fulfil the Workforce Plan and staff being relocated due to library refurbishment. This is in contrast to the previous five months (almost) when library staff were facilitated to work from home. Staff were supplied with a laptop which is linked to the Council network. This allowed us continue working online and to undertake training. Staff are adjusting to being back in the workplace and providing a service in person.
This is a flavour of what has been happening in Roscommon Library Service since returning to the workplace in May and the months before this.
Roscommon libraries are open for Browse and Borrow. 20 people max. are permitted in the library at one time. Statistics approx. for Roscommon Library Service May 11th-31st 2021: Check-outs of library items 3,800; Check-ins, 3,600; Footfall, 2,220 (two libraries out of five are currently closed for refurbishment).