On the 23rd March 2020 it was announced that in 48 hours, New Zealand was going into an alert level 4 lockdown protect the country against Covid-19. People were instructed to go home and self-isolate, only essential services (such as supermarkets) would continue to operate.
This photo was taken on 24th March 2020, the day before the lockdown came into effect. Most library staff were instructed to stay home, just a few were called in to prepare sites for the lockdown.
The book return slots were sealed up as library users were instructed to hold onto their returns until the libraries reopened - returning library books wasn't an essential activity, people needed to stay safe at home. Staff took the plants home with them, emptied to fridges and bins. Nobody knew how long the lockdown would last or how long the building would be closed up for.
Awapuni Library reopened after several months on 20th May 2020. Due to restrictions on public gatherings, libraries could only open again in alert level 2. There were no events or activities, but people could at least get books again! Every person who came into the library had to give their details or scan in to the contact register, so the government could trace people if there was contact with a Covid-19 case.