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Good news stories from our wonderful Library!

Yass Valley Library was approached by a former committee member from the Yass Domestic Violence Committee with a donation to purchase children’s books for community education and early intervention on family violence.

The committee is no longer active and the workers have all moved on but a small balance was left in the bank account. As it was about to expire due to inactivity, the former committee member contacted Library Coordinator, Kimberly Hughes to offer the Library the donation of $550 to source some books explaining domestic/family violence to young children and teenagers.

Kimberly said the Library was pleased to accept the kind offer and would place a sticker inside the cover of the books with a list of support services, information and helpful contacts for those needing assistance in the Yass Valley.

“We would really love to be able to support this very important cause in any way we can,” she said.

Photos from USA

The Library was contacted by Duncan Miller Gallery to see if it was interested in purchasing photos rescued back in 2017.

The Sydney Morning Herald two million piece Original Vintage Photograph Archive was rescued from obscurity in 2017, by Daniel Miller from Duncan Miller Gallery in Santa Monica California, with the goal of repatriating these cultural assets back to Australia.

The two million photographs have been extensively sorted and organised by a team of experts in the US in the process of offering them in category bundles to relevant libraries, museums and galleries across Australia.

“We have discovered a number of vintage photographs of Yass Valley and wanted to reach out to see if Yass Valley Library is interested in acquiring them before they are offered to the open market. We are offering a drastically reduced price for libraries and museums,” the email read.

Comur Street Yass 1860 4

One of the photogtaphs: Comur Steet, Yass in 1860.

Some of the institutions that have acquired photographs to date include: National Library of Australia, Bradman Museum, Sydney Opera House, National War Memorial, Museum of Australian Democracy, Australian Federal Police, The Great Synagogue of Sydney, Lesbian and Gay Archives of Sydney, National Maritime Museum, Sydney Tramway Museum, as well as many regional libraries.

Yass Library Coordinator, Kimberly Hughes said she investigated with other libraries in Australia to ensure that it was a legitimate offer.

“Wagga sent us a link to their website showing what they had received and said they were very happy. We sent Jacqui a list of all the villages and localities that are located in the Yass Valley LGA and they had their warehouse undertake a search of the archives,” Kimberly said.

“We received the photos last month and we plan on scanning them for preservation and also have the collection available via our webpage (one day in the future) and may have some enlarged to display around the library to showcase the recent and distant history of Yass Valley.”

Semi Trailers through Yass 1992 003

Main street of Yass before the bypass - 1992.

Click & Collect a success

Prior to the mandatory shut down of the Library, Council had developed an alternate business model to allow a modified version of the service to continue. This allowed the Library to reopen using the Click & Collect model just one week after the Australian Governments direction was issued.

Library Coordinator, Kimberly Hughes said the safety of patrons and staff was her number one priority.

“All aspects were covered from introducing mandatory four day quarantine of items to rearranging the Library to transform the back storage room into a ‘quarantine room’ and to operate from the Click and Collect service from the front door.”

Help was offered over the phone to those who could not use the online reservation service to ensure everyone still had access to materials during a stressful time.

The service had the added benefit of introducing patrons to new authors and genres. This was achieved by staff selecting books on behalf of patrons who would normally browse or did not know what they wanted to read.

“This was so well received that when the library reopened, the same patrons were requesting staff continue selecting books for them as we ‘pick much better books’ than they did!,” Kimberly said.

The Library paired up the local volunteer group ‘Yass Community – COVID Assistant Group’ to offer home delivery to Yass residents.

Whilst the opening days were limited (three days a week to allow for quarantine), the Library was averaging 30-40 people visiting.

“We were one of the first libraries in NSW to offer Click & Collect and we have been contacted by other libraries, including the ACT, about how we had set it up,” Kimberly continued.

“We were also contacted by seven libraries in America, requesting information on how we were offering the Click & Collect Service. We sent through a copy of our Alternate Business Model to start them off and for which they could modify to suit their needs.”

Donations to new homes

During the shut-down, Library staff members were kept busy assessing collections and removing items that no longer met the needs of the patrons.

Suitable items that were removed from the collection were donated to various community groups, including the local nursing homes, which each received a collection of large print books and audiobooks for their residents. Music CDs were also donated to Yass FM to be played on the community radio.

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Binge Boxes

The shutdown also allowed the Library an opportunity to put together Binge Boxes - a group of 6 donated DVD movies based on a similar theme.

“Once we have all the Binge Boxes created, there will be over 80 boxes available including family, adult and children’s kits,” Library Coordinator, Kimberly Hughes said.

“We are the first library in the region to offer Binge Boxes. We have been approached by the Queanbeyan-Palarang and Lachlan Shire councils as well as ACT Libraries for information and templates on how we have set up our boxes.”

Additionally, the Library is continually reviewing ways to add in services during the COVID pandemic, including increased online content (eBooks & eAudiobooks) for exclusive access by Yass Valley Library members. Book club kits have been refreshed with the addition of new titles, transforming many of the current kits into ‘inclusive’ kits with large print, audiobook and DVDs. This will allow members to have access to materials to suit their needs. The Library now has 120 book club kits available.

Binge Box 002

3 August 2020

Back to COVID-19

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