Libraries reopen following easing of social distancing measures

Izah Azahari

The Library Division of the Language and Literature Bureau (DBP) re-opened its branches to the public at Level 1 yesterday, in the latest easing of social distancing measures announced by Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jafaar.

DPB libraries nationwide will be open to the public every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday from 8.45am to 11.45am, and from 2pm to 4pm.

DBP Library Officer Fatin Nadhirah binti Haji Ariffin told the Bulletin that DBP library branches are re-opening on a stage-by stage basis and are currently in the first of four stages.

A few library services will be provided to the public, such as the Adult and Youth Services.
“As for the Children’s Section, we have yet to resume services at this stage, as well as the visit services,” she said.

Capacity in the first stage is limited to 30 per cent, which means that only 30 people will be admitted in the library at a time for the Bandar Seri Begawan branch.

As the other eight branches are smaller in size, Fatin Nadhirah said the capacity will vary according to the size of the library, where only between five to 10 people may be admitted at a time.

“Each individual is allocated two hours when they come into the library, and we have also placed social distancing labels on each table so that the users are aware of it,” she said.

ABOVE & BELOW: DBP Library Officer Fatin Nadhirah binti Haji Ariffin; and social distancing reminders at the library. PHOTOS: RAHWANI ZAHARI

“As the opening hours are only five hours per day and three times a week, before and after office hours, as well as during lunch time, the premises will be optimised for cleaning where the cleaners will be sanitising the books, tables and whatever else the visitors have touched.”

A BruHealth QR code has been set up at the entrance of the library, in addition to temperature checks and a logbook for visitors at the front desk.

“We’ve also installed the PremiseScan so that the officers can check the current capacity in the building, while the login and logout times would be for officers to check how long they’ve been in the building, as each individual is only allowed two hours and they usually maximise that time,” said Fatin Nadhirah.

“As time is quite limited, we would have to tell the people to come in the afternoon, once the capacity is filled.” She said the library is also trying to limit the cleaning of books by assigning two duty officers to fetch them rather than allow users to browse through the shelves.

Library users are also able to use the provided kiosk to look up the list of books they want, for the duty officer to put aside for them.

Prior to the reopening of library services, Fatin Nadhirah explained that they were able to accommodate library users through a book loan service at portal. After browsing through the link, users would then send a text message to the hotline at 8266880, listing the books they required. “As users were not allowed to enter the library building prior to the reopening, the collecting of the books under the book loan service would be done outside, where a drop-off service was also in operation for those who came to return books,” she said.

“Individuals can still use this service now, as it is a separate service from those who come to borrow books during their two hours at the library.

“As for the second and third floor services for the Bruneiana Reference and General Reference, which are special sections containing books that are not allowed to be brought outside, users can still borrow them, but the staff will have to take the books out for them.

“They are only allowed to use them at the library, as those sections are actually still closed and will be opened at a later stage,” she added.