Increased Book Borrowing at the Library in Preparation for Suspension
In the midst of the continued infection of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), on Sunday, March 1st, facilities within Fukui Prefecture, usually bustling with children and families, were quiet. Even in outdoor facilities where it is more difficult for a crowd to gather, parents and children were still discrete in their play. In libraries, families stood out in borrowing books, in preparation for the long school break from March 2nd.
At the Fukui Prefectural Library (located in Fukui City), asking students to practice self-discipline, the facility stated that on a normal weekend, there would be a line of 200 to 300 junior high school students lined up, waiting for the library to open; on the 1st, there was almost no children in sight. During this time, the library’s free study space would be full of students studying for the entrance exams, with an adult sitting in each four-person space, reading a book.
In response to the school closures, the library reported that people are borrowing about 5 more books than usual, going up to 15 books, considering more time will be spent at home. The number of visitors on February 29th were roughly 20-30% lower than normal, but compared to the Saturday and Sunday averages of the month, there were at least 1,000 more books loaned out, totalling to about 4,500 books. A Fukui City woman (aged 40) with her two daughters explained, “Because of the school closure, we’re borrowing more than usual,” taking 30 books on loan.
In Wai-Plaza Shinbo (located in Fukui City), “Asobi MA-RE”, an indoor amusement area for parents and children, there were roughly 20 people, with a staff member commenting, “It is usually bustling with about 200 people on a normal Sunday.” The facility will be closed from March 2nd to 13th.
At the temporarily closed prefectural science centre for children (known as “Angel Land”, located in Sakai City), regardless of the exceptionally fine weather during the winter season, there were much less children playing in the outdoor plaza. A woman (aged 35) from Fukui City explained her reason for visiting with her 3 six-year-old boys, “We didn’t want to go to a shopping centre, where there would be a lot of people; if we’re outside, we can maintain distance from other people.” When the children intend to interact with the playground equipment, they would not take food or drinks with them.
“Prioritizing the children’s safety, and to prevent infection, please refrain from being in the outdoor plaza,” expressed Angel Land in a statement.
Until March 15th, many facilities frequently visited by children, including the Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum (located in Katsuyama City) and the Fukui Children’s Museum (located in Fukui City), are closed.
“Until spring, there will be many days with bad weather, and if the closure continues, it will be problematic for the facilities,” says a man (aged 39) visiting Angel Land with his family, expressing his worries.