After 20 years of serving the Hat Head community, the Hat Head Library has officially closed its doors, Kempsey Shire Council has announced.
The library, which was run in partnership with the Lower Macleay Anglican Parish and operated as a volunteer-run library, moved to the Hat Head Community Centre in 2005. However, due to the decreasing circulation of print materials and a drop in visitor numbers, the library had become predominantly used by a small group of volunteers.
The COVID-19 pandemic only accelerated the library’s closure, as it was forced to temporarily shut down in March 2020 and has not reopened since.
The Church, which owns the building, has decided to use the space for alternative purposes and will continue to run a community book exchange. Council has donated library shelves and is supporting the church’s efforts to set up a community op shop.
In place of the Hat Head Library, the Council’s mobile library service will now visit the area fortnightly and offer a home lending service for those who are unable to visit the van. Library staff are working with the community to ensure the transition is smooth and to gather input on how to best serve the community through the mobile library service.
A morning tea was held last week to celebrate and thank the Hat Head Library volunteers and to gather their input on the mobile library service.
The closure of Hat Head Library marks the end of an era, but the Council and Church are working together to ensure the community continues to have access to books and resources.