Laura - Library Assistant

Laura peut

Connecting the community during COVID-19: The remarkable Redlands library assistants

COVID-19 changed the way Redland City Council libraries operate. Our libraries teams stepped up, pivoting our offerings to the community, and working tirelessly to ensure people could enjoy the library from the comfort of their home during library closures. One of our remarkable library assistants, Laura Peut, talks about work and life during COVID-19.

Pride and passion in her work

Laura, was born and raised in the Redlands. Her pop was our mayor in the early 90s, and she’s spent most of her career connecting with locals.

“Libraries are such an integral part of the local community. People from all walks of life - at all ages and stages - come to libraries to learn, laugh and share. It really is the ultimate community hub.”

Thinking and acting quickly

Laura was part of the library team that sprang into action when Redland City Council decided to close their libraries. Armed with a list of referral services, Laura contacted members who had used the libraries in the last six months to see how they were faring. 

Laura and the team spoke to more than 6000 locals during the library shutdown.

Once people had their immediate needs taken care of, Laura and her colleagues explained how members could still access library services from home and advised that any borrowed books would be extended without a late fee.

“Most people didn’t know the extent of our free services, which include e-books, audio books, movies, music, magazines, Ancestry.com, learning languages, and various resources for kids. We connected people who were struggling with technology with our tech team for help with setting up devices.”

All the difference in the world

Laura was awash with stories from the phone line. She played the role of counsellor, friend and confidante to many people who were struggling or feeling isolated but Laura considered it a privilege, rather than a burden.

“Some people we spoke to said it was the only interaction they’d had in days. Knowing that a conversation can be so valuable was lovely. I left work with a smile on my face - even on the tough days.”

Silver linings

Laura is pleased with the many positive unintended consequences and silver linings that have come from the pandemic.

“Coming to work and helping the community in a tangible way was comforting during this period of uncertainty. From a business perspective, we got on top of inventory and diversified library offerings. This time has helped us reflect on how our libraries can keep being progressive and competitive in the modern world.”

“Redlands is where I live; it’s my home - and I want everyone in the community to have what they need to thrive. Council acted quickly and confidently in the face of this pandemic and I feel proud to have played a part in that response.”