After being closed for the best part of six months due to lockdown Aberdeen’s libraries have begun a phased reopening.
The Covid-19 pandemic meant the city’s 17 libraries had to shut their doors to eager bookworms.
Even though people could not gain access to physical books they were still able to borrow everything from Harry Potter to George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984 in a digital format.
But with restrictions beginning to ease the libraries have once again started to welcome bibliophiles back.
Perspex screens have been set up at counters and there are also hand sanitiser stations set up across the libraries.
Anyone returning a book is asked to leave it on a shelf and it will not be touched by staff for three days.
Computers have been spread out to encourage physical distancing and limited browsing is allowed.
Central and Tillydrone libraries opened on Monday and the libraries at Airyhall, Bridge of Don, Cove, Dyce and Mastrick opened on Thursday.
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Dallas King, events and programming officer for Aberdeen’s libraries, said they had around 100 people visiting when they reopened their doors at Central Library earlier this week.
He said there has been a “positive reaction” since welcoming eager readers back to the Rosemount Viaduct facility, which first opened in 1892.
Dallas said: “We had around 100 people across Central on Monday.
“It is important to get the word out there because it has been five months since the library was closed.
“The reaction has been positive. There has been a lot of people coming in and familiar faces behind face coverings.
“There are a lot of people who have missed getting into the library. When lockdown happened we had to change our entire model so there were a lot of e-books and audio e-books.
“Digital loans went up by around 300% during that time but that is always going to be a small percentage of what we do because not everyone is going to have access to the internet.
“We’ve found computer access is going to be one of the most popular things with people coming back to use it.”
Aberdeen City Council has also unveiled the most popular electronic titles borrowed during lockdown between March 20 and July 22, when they reopened for click and collect.
For eBook fiction The Way Of All Flesh by Ambrose Parry while non-fiction it was 15 Minutes to Happiness by Richard Nicholls and The Magic Art of Tidying by Marie Kondo.
The leading eBook for children was Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling with the audiobook version also in the top five.
Nine Perfect Strangers by Lianne Moriarty was the leading electronic audiobook title borrowed in Aberdeen.
Councillor John Wheeler, convener of the city council’s education operational committee, said: “We were delighted to have started the phased reopening of Aberdeen City Libraries beginning with Central Library and Tillydrone Library on Monday. We welcomed more than 100 visitors on Monday, and our library staff said it was great to see some familiar faces albeit behind their face coverings.
“We have had to make some alterations to the layout of the libraries to ensure physical distancing and adapted the way we deliver aspects of our service, but overall the feedback from our users has been very positive with many of them excited to visit the library again following lockdown.
“Our Libraries team continues to work hard behind the scenes and will reopen a further five libraries across the city this week.”