COVID-19 21 April Update for Christchurch Groups


Dear BDS friends – those who come in to BDS to pick up your books

I hope you’re all well and coping with the isolation.  I apologise for this lengthy message, but we need to bring you up-to-date with future operations.

I’m happy to advise that the BDS is able to reopen at level 3 on Tuesday, 28 April.  Staff are able to work under the social distancing rules and we have come up with a procedure where groups will be able to pick books up and drop them off without coming into contact with anyone (more explained below).  Our first priority will be to catch up on dispatches and we hope to be able to do this within a few weeks.  We are currently up to 16 April, so if your meeting is later than this, there will be a delay as we catch up.   I will send out regular emails advising the date we’re up to.


There are a number of things to be aware of:


  • The Prime Minister does not want face-to-face contact, so if you have questions to ask or accounts to pay, we ask that you do this online or by phone or email.
  • As previously advised, we’ve extended the due-back date of all books so overdues will not be a problem at level 3, and for some of you, level 2 as well.
  • We realise that a number of groups have not been able to distribute the books to members.  Once we’re at level 3, we hope that family and friends can help you to distribute the books to your members and you will then be able to discuss them remotely and return them when you’re able.   Perhaps you could ‘meet’ more regularly than once a month INITIALLY, so you too can catch up and eventually be able to return your books on time.  Our goal is to get things back to normal within a couple of months where you’re able to meet (remotely, for quite a while) at the usual time and return the books on time.    This goal is important, as we will need the books back so we can dispatch them to other groups. 


Picking books up and dropping them off


  • If you’re unable to come into the BDS to pick the books up and have no-one who could do this for you, then we will courier the books to you at our cost.  This is a cost we have not budgeted for, so this option is for those of you who are older and have no-one who could pick the books up and drop others off (remember, because of the due-back date extension, you can return books at the same time as you pick others up).  We can also sell track-and-trace courier bags to you so you can return them to us.
  • If you opt to have the books couriered to you, please advise the appropriate address for level 3 and beyond.  If you live in a retirement village, please make sure couriers are allowed to drop parcels off


Your next meeting


  • Some of you may feel that you can’t receive another bookset at this time.  Our board met remotely on Monday evening to discuss this possibility and they have asked that you cancel any meetings rather than put your subscription on hold.  Because we’re a charitable trust and do not have reserves to fall back on, we will not be able to continue operating if groups re-enrol later than they normally do, which would be the situation if current subscriptions are put on hold.  We rely on those funds to purchase books and to pay wages.    If you are able to treat the cancellation of a meeting as a donation, we would be extremely grateful. 
  • If you would like to cancel a meeting, please get in touch with us at or phone.  We hate to think of you missing out on books, so before you cancel a meeting, have a think about whether your group could read two books at once – perhaps this could be done over 4-6 weeks?     If you’re not sure and would like to discuss it, please phone or email us to talk it through. 


Procedure for picking books up and dropping them off


At level 3, only staff are allowed to enter premises and people must adhere to the social distancing rules.  The procedure for picking up books is as follows:

  1. Phone or email for a time-slot to pick your books up and advise us of your car registration number.
  2. We will have the books ready for you and will take them out to your car on a trolley.  You can take the book parcel and place any returns on the trolley.
  3. If you’re returning books without picking any up, you can either place the bag of books at the door, or put the books into the returns slot.


Hygiene tips

Please remember – the virus may survive on plastic for up to 72 hours, and on cardboard for up to 24 hours.  When you and your members receive books, you should put them aside for the required time and wash your hands.


We look forward to being back at work and dispatching books to you.  It will take a while to catch up on dispatches, so please be patient.  If you have any concerns at all, please get in touch, we’d love to hear from you.

Stay well - Barbara

The Book Discussion 
Scheme is a member of the Federation of Workers Educational Associations in Aotearoa New Zealand
BDS is a member of the Federation of Workers Educational Associations