Richmond Upper Clarence Regional Library expands online content during COVID lockdown

THE Richmond Upper Clarence Regional Library continues to go from strength to strength, with the completion of newly renovated Evans Head Library capping off a stellar year in 2020-2021 for the popular service.

Despite the challenges of COVID-19, which included forced branch closures in early 2020 and the introduction of pandemic safety measures including a limit on concurrent visitor numbers, the Library continued to grow its membership into the 2020-2021 financial year.

The RUCRL’s latest annual report has revealed 793 new members joined during the year, with a total of 16,338 members.

The service also ran 818 programs, including 169 children and youth events, and 649 successful adult programs including Tech Savvy for Seniors, Create, Make, Share craft programs, adult colouring-in, book clubs, book launches and author visits both to library branches and online.

There was also continue success with the innovative Seed Library service, with 4185 seed loans encouraging the growth of plenty of neighbourhood vegetable gardens.

Other highlights included successful grant applications for the Casino Community Courtyard, and solar panels for the mobile library, via the NSW Government’s Public Library Infrastructure Grants program. These fully-funded projects will get underway in the coming months.

Manager Regional Library Gary Ellem said the highlight of the year was the Evans Head Library renovation, which was largely completed during the 2020-2021 financial year and opened to visitors at the start of this month.

“The renovation both inside and out has transformed the Evans Head Library into a modern and inviting place, with new furniture, furnishings, and amenities – and plenty of space,” Mr Ellem said.

“It’s unfortunate that we have had to close so soon after opening, and we can’t wait to welcome visitors back once the stay-at-home restrictions are lifted.”

The $880,000 renovation was funded via a $400,000 Public Library Infrastructure Grant from the NSW Government, and $480,000 from Council’s 2020-2021 capital works budget.

Mr Ellem said the variety of online services offered by the Library were especially crucial now the community was in lockdown.

“Our members have access to the RURCL app which allows them to borrow eBooks, magazines, and audio books and other resources, as well as access to the popular BorrowBox and Beamafilm apps,” he said.

“We’re currently ramping up our content buying for online services, and starting to look at licensing content for simultaneous usage, which will allow popular e-books to be borrowed by multiple members at once.

“Our staff are passionate about what they do and dedicated to delivering a great service, whether it’s in person or online, and I think that shows in how the community embraced the Library during the first long lockdown in early 2020.”

Other highlights of the year include the Justice of the Peace Service, used 602 times, a total of 39,450 information and customer service requests, and 8714 internet bookings and 6946 Wi-Fi connections.

If you would like to know more about Library services available online please call 6660 0250 or email

The Library’s range of eResources available including eBooks, eAudiobooks and Beamafilms, are also available from or directly from the Library app.

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