Just as many Belgian libraries, Public Library of Pittem is closed for the public, but on April 6th we started a pick-up service.
People can mail a list with materials they want us to prepare. On a fixed moment we put the bags in the entrance hall.
We only allow them to ask for materials that are available in our main branch. We did not put a maximum on the number of items requested, none has taken advantage of this.
As we have only a small library (serving around 6700 people) we prepare about 8 packages a day (which means +/- 40 in a week), adding up to about 200 items a week. On Saturdays and Sundays there is no service.
We make sure there is a time gap of 30 min. between pick ups, in order to avoid people being together in the entrance hall.
People love this service as many need to have books or films to pass time.
What we experience though, is that it is difficult to circulate books that are not popular. Many of these books find a reader when they are exposed on a table with our new arrivals. But since people do not enter the library, they do not see them. It feels like a temporary loss as these books will probably have been moved to the shelves when we re-open.
People tend to ask for popular books, the better known authors or books in a series. Comics are popular as well.
Books can only be returned through our deposit box. We clean them but do not really put them in quarantaine as no other people, than library staff, handle them.
We made a poster of our library during Covid-times and posted a film explaining what we do while we are closed for the public.
We hope to re-open soon – we guess it may be around May 18th as schools and musea will open again.
Patrick Vanden Berghe
Librarian at Public Library of Pittem
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