Monday 16 March, 2020
Tweed Shire Council cultural facilities to close from tomorrow
Council will close its cultural facilities effective from tomorrow in response to the Coronavirus emergency. This includes libraries, gallery and museum facilities.
The facilities will be closed for two weeks, with the closure reviewed on a week-by-week basis after that. All associated events and public programs during this period have been cancelled or postponed.
The closures affect:
• Richmond-Tweed Regional Library branches at Tweed Heads, Kingscliff and Murwillumbah
• Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre and Gallery DownTown in Murwillumbah
• Tweed Regional Museum at Murwillumbah, Tweed Heads and Uki.
Council’s Director Sustainable Communities and Environment Tracey Stinson said Council had a duty of care to its cultural facility patrons and the community.
“We made this decision because we have a relatively high proportion of our population over the age of 60 and many of these residents who are more likely to be vulnerable to the effects of Coronavirus use our facilities as patrons and volunteers,” Ms Stinson said.
“There are 6000 visits to our library branches a week and 600 per day visit the Tweed Heads library alone.
“Add to that the 2500 people who visit the Tweed Regional Gallery weekly and you have a large group of people coming together – many of whom are in the vulnerable age bracket.
She stressed that no staff members at any of the affected facilities had been diagnosed with Coronavirus.
“Closing these facilities are a precautionary measure aimed at protecting staff and slowing the spread of the virus within the community,” she said.
Staff will continue to work at the facilities during the closures on behind-the scenes projects.
All library patrons are also advised that there will be a waiver on any library books due for return during the closedown period.
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Lismore City Council announcement:
Member Councils of Richmond Tweed Regional Library are taking a proactive approach in response to the unfolding situation with Coronavirus (COVID-19) and have made the decision to temporarily close all Richmond Tweed Regional Library branches from tomorrow as a preventative measure to support the health and wellbeing of staff, volunteers and the community.
Library branches in Lismore City, Ballina, Byron and Tweed Shires, including the Mobile Library, will be closed for two weeks, with the closure reviewed on a week-by-week basis after that.
Regional Library Manger Jo Carmody said that Member Councils made this decision as Council has a duty of care to its staff, library users and the community.
The libraries have almost 30,000 visits per week with some of the bigger branches seeing visitor numbers in excess of 600 people per day.
Jo stressed that no staff member at any of the libraries had been diagnosed with Coronavirus.
“Council has decided that with our high visitor numbers that closing all branches was a precautionary measure aimed at protecting staff, library users and slowing the spread of the virus within the community,” she said.
The eLibrary is open with access to books, magazines and audiobooks in downloadable digital formats from the RTRL website or Library App. Any renewals will now be for a six-week period rather than the normal three-week renewal period. Renewals can be made on the website, Library App or by phoning the library.
Staff will continue to work during the closures on behind the scenes projects and will be available via phone to answer any library questions, renew items or assist with access to the online eLibrary.