Home Local News More Lancashire libraries will open soon

More Lancashire libraries will open soon

Red Rose Lancashire

A phased reopening of more of Lancashire County Council’s libraries will start soon, however people will need to book an appointment before visiting.

Libraries have been closed since March when the coronavirus restrictions were introduced, with mobile libraries off the road and buildings closed to the public.

The ground floor lending library at The Harris in Preston, which is run by Preston City Council on behalf of Lancashire County Council, has been open since 11 July. Books can be returned and borrowed without an appointment at The Harris.

On Monday, 27 July, a further 12 libraries will reopen across each district. These are:

Coal Clough

The opening hours of the libraries will be Monday to Friday, 10am to 1pm.

Customers will need to book an appointment to use either of the two services that will be available:

• Six of the best – a selection of up to six books to be made by library staff for the customer and collected from a library at the pre-booked appointment time
• Browse and borrow – to come into the library and choose books. There will be a limit on how many people can come into the building at any one time

Once the online appointments system is ready and live next week, customers will be able to book online or call the library helpline to book a slot.

As other libraries will remain closed for now, customers can make an appointment to visit any of the libraries that are open, even if it isn’t their local library.

People who have made an appointment to visit the library will be asked to provide their name and contact details to support the NHS Test and Trace system.

The home library service will also be available from Thursday, 23 July, prioritising our most vulnerable customers.

Library staff will choose books and contact people who have requested the service to arrange delivery to them. The books will be delivered to people, working to socially distancing guidelines.

Anyone wanting to return books can do this by placing them in the returned books container at the entrance of the libraries that are open. No appointment will be necessary to do this. Books will be quarantined before they are re-shelved.

Access to computers, printers or photocopiers will not be available in the libraries at first. It is hoped to make these services available again soon.

County Councillor Peter Buckley, Lancashire County Council’s cabinet member for community and cultural services, said: “Libraries provide a vital service for our communities and I am glad we can now announce reopening some of them.

“We’ve been working for a while on arrangements for reopening our libraries, and I’m delighted that the government recently gave the go-ahead for this to happen.

“Although we are really looking forward to welcoming our customers back into our libraries, it is obvious that we need to take a phased, step-by-step approach to this. That’s why we are opening up 12 of our libraries for now, and offering limited services.

“People will notice significant differences in how we can safely open them, for the time-being. A big difference is that people won’t just be able to visit their library, and will need to book a timeslot. This is so we can enable social distancing and limit the number of people in a library, in a way that is safe for customers and staff.

“We are following national guidelines on the safe reopening of libraries very carefully, and our plans will continue to be led by these. Resuming services in a safe way for our customers and staff is our top priority.

“I’m grateful for people’s patience and understanding, and I’d ask everyone to keep an eye on our website and social media channels where we will announce further details of other libraries reopening, as soon as it is safe to do so.”

Library staff have been working hard to start to prepare council libraries, in line with national guidance, making sure all buildings are Covid-19 secure so that residents and staff are safe when using the service.

Customers will not be charged for any overdue items. Library users are being asked to hold onto their books until they can return them to an open library and not try to post them through letter boxes or leave them outside libraries. Books can be renewed online or by calling 0300 123 6704.

Although some libraries will remain closed, there are many online resources available, including eBooks, audiobooks, newspapers, comics and magazines using Borrowbox, RBdigital and Press Reader.

New digital activities have also been launched, with different activities on social media. These include:

• The Monday Lego Club on Twitter and Facebook.
• A lunchtime break book club also takes place every two weeks on Twitter.

Library audiences across the county can also enjoy a story performed by Spot On Lancashire each week. A specific session is performed for children, and another one for adults.

Other services available include:

• The Lancashire Volunteer Partnership’s telephone befriending service whilst the home library service is temporarily stopped due to coronavirus.
• Online resources including information, facts and figures, family and local history, newspapers, school work and study.
• Remote access has also been arranged for library members to the popular family history resource, Ancestry.com
• The service Ask a Lancashire Librarian, where our librarians staff a web-based enquiry service Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm has continued. Out of those hours you can submit a question and the service will get back to you the next working day.
• A new magazine, newspaper and comic download library.

More details will be made available in the coming weeks as to which libraries will be open and when, plus what services will be available. For more information, go to www.lancashire.gov.uk/coronavirus-updates/libraries-archives-and-museums

More information is available about The Harris at www.theharris.org.uk/press-news/reopening

Find out the about how services are affected by the coronavirus at www.lancashire.gov.uk/health-and-social-care/your-health-and-wellbeing/coronavirus latest

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