One of the best ways to escape the reality of the coronavirus is to bury yourself in a good book and the Warrnambool library is going to great lengths to make sure that happens.
The library was forced to close its doors to the public on Monday in an attempt to stop the spread of the virus which has infected five people in Warrnambool so far.
But library staff have been working behind the scenes to come up with a novel way of giving readers the escape from reality many avid readers will be looking for.
Staff have decided to home deliver the 1000 books that have been reserved by people in the Warrnambool and surrounding area, Warrnambool Library manager Lisa McDonald said.
"We have always delivered books to the elderly, to the ill and infirmed and people who are otherwise housebound," she said.
"We've actually taken advantage of the opportunity to clear out our reservations shelves and we're in the process of delivering all of those basically a home delivery service to customers who had reserved items prior to us being shut."
It's a huge logistical task, but Ms McDonald said people were "totally overjoyed" to have the books delivered.
"It just makes us just so happy. It's why we do what we do," she said.
Staff are hitting the phones to make sure people are still happy to receive the books before they deliver them to people's doorsteps.
"It's very strange times. I'm not aware of any other library that is doing it," she said.
All books that are currently out on loan have been automatically renewed until April 24, and while the tentative plan was to reopen on April 14 Ms McDonald said that could change.
Once all the reserved books have been delivered, Ms McDonald staff would consider bringing in phase two which could be taking new book reservations from its 17,000 members and delivering them to people.
"We have such joy in being able to ring people and say 'we are getting a book to you'," she said.
"There are kids of there on three weeks of extended holidays, so to be able to drop a book to them at this time it's why we do what we do. We are just people who love connecting books and people together.
"It's really important for people to get their heads out of social media, out of the news because the news is full-on at the moment and collectively we would just like to probably get the community a little bit calmer, switched off and stick your head in a book.
"There's always such joy to be had getting lost in a great story."
DVDs that are also on the reservation shelf will also be delivered. 'We've got some great series people are watching and to have to pause people in series seven if they're working their way through Suits, or one of those long TV series, we'll get the next chapter out to you," she said.
To prevent the potential spreading of the virus, Ms McDonald said that staff were taking all the necessary precautions.
"The most accurate we have is that the virus can live on objects up to 72 hours," she said.
"We are using gloves. We are disinfecting every single item. Most importantly we are disinfecting and drying out each item before we bag it up.
"If customers have any concerns we just recommend that you leave the bag sit there for up to 72 hours at your end.
"But so far we're pretty confident that we're delivering a disinfected product."
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