More libraries are due to reopen across Lancashire from next week, giving people access to a range of valuable services and information once again.
Libraries at Silverdale, Carnforth and Oswaldtwistle will reopen on Wednesday, 21 October.
Chatburn library will reopen on Thursday, 22 October.
Burnley’s Campus and Pike Hill libraries will reopen on Wednesday, 28 October.
This will mean that the majority of libraries are available again with measures in place to help prevent the spread of coronavirus after closing in response to the national lockdown earlier this year.
All libraries are operating the same opening hours as before, 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. The only exception is The Harris in Preston which is open from 9am to 5pm Monday to Saturday.
Visitors can browse, borrow, photocopy and use computers without an appointment, but may have to queue before being able to enter as part of new social distancing arrangements, which limit the number of people allowed in at any one time.
The Six of the Best service, a selection of up to six books chosen and issued to customers by library staff, will still be available. These can be collected at the entrance of the library. People will need to speak with library staff, see the information on our libraries website, or call 0300 123 6703 between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday to arrange this service.
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.
Some of our libraries may also be able to make space available for people to sit and study, and make use of the free Wi-Fi. Please ask your local library for details as arrangements vary depending upon the amount of space available.
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.
County Councillor Peter Buckley, Lancashire County Council’s cabinet member for community and cultural services, said: “Our library service has been working very hard to put arrangements in place to allow them to reopen, and I’m very pleased that we’ll be able to welcome even more people back from next week. Nearly every one of our libraries have now reopened and I am grateful for everyone’s patience and understanding during this difficult period.”
People are required to wear a face covering when visiting a library unless they are exempt. Children under 11 will not be required to cover their faces. Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult.
Everyone will also be asked to provide their name and contact details to support the NHS Test and Trace system. This can be by scanning a poster in the library using the new NHS COVID-19 app.
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. Books will be quarantined for 72 hours before they are re-shelved.
Customers are encouraged to renew their books before Tuesday, 1 December, as charges for overdue books will be reinstated from this date.
Library users are being asked to hold onto their books until they can return them to an open library and not to post them through letter boxes or leave them outside libraries. Books can be renewed online or by calling 0300 123 6704.
All book reservations collected after Tuesday 1 December will incur the 75p charge.
Self-service machines, where available, will also be reintroduced from Tuesday, 1 December. Card payment will also be available on the self-service machines from this date.