Lancashire libraries will be open for browsing again from Monday 12 April as coronavirus restrictions begin to be eased.
Visitors can browse, borrow, photocopy and use computers without an appointment, but may have to queue before being able to enter as part of social distancing arrangements which limit the number of people allowed in at any one time.
People will need to wear a face covering unless they’re exempt, and be prepared to provide their name and contact details to support the national Test and Trace system. Children under 11 will not be required to cover their faces, and children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult.
All libraries will be operating their usual opening hours, except that they will close for lunch from 1pm to 2pm. This does not apply if the library is opening later, for example 1pm-7pm.
Public computers will also be available for 45-minute sessions starting on the hour, on a first-come-first-served basis. It may be possible to extend sessions upon request if nobody else is waiting. Charges for photocopying and printing will be re-introduced from Monday 12 April.
Some libraries may also be able to make space available for people to sit and study, and make use of the free Wi-Fi. Anyone wishing to study is asked to check with their local library for details as arrangements will vary depending upon the amount of space available.
The six of the best service, which was introduced during lockdown, will be continuing for those who would prefer to collect their books at the library door. This allows people to collect up to six books selected by library staff during opening hours.
Anyone wanting to return books can do this by putting them in the returned books container at the entrance. Books will be quarantined for 72 hours before they are re-shelved.
All book loans have been extended, where possible to Tuesday 4 May. Overdue charges will be re-introduced from 4 May. Books can be renewed online or by calling 0300 123 6704.
All book reservations collected after Tuesday 4 May will incur the 75p charge.
Self-service machines, where available, will also be reintroduced from Tuesday 4 May. Card payment will also be available on the self-service machines from this date.
Julie Bell, head of service for libraries, said: “We’re really looking forward to being able to welcome people back into our libraries next week in line with the government timetable for easing of lockdown restrictions.
“People will be able to come along and browse although we do need to limit the numbers of people allowed inside at any one time, and we’re grateful for people’s patience if they do have to queue.
“We’ve done all we can to make our libraries safe to visit, however I’d ask people to remember that the threat of coronavirus is still with us, and they need to socially distance from others, and follow all the restrictions in place.”
The music and drama lending service available to subscribing groups, such as choirs, orchestras and drama societies, is also available again, though limited to collections held by Lancashire libraries. Orders can be placed online, and sets can be returned to any library. Unfortunately the collection held at Lostock Hall isn’t currently available for browsing due to coronavirus restrictions.
For more information about Lancashire Libraries visit lancashire.gov.uk/libraries.