Better Libraries in Bromley, Greenwich, Dudley and Wandsworth will start to open in a phased approach with a revised loan offer and shorter opening hours from today, Monday 6 July. Libraries in Lincolnshire will open from 13 July.
Better's library service welcomes over 5 million visits annually in some of the country’s best used facilities. During lockdown, Better libraries went online, with a 'Libraries Without Walls' offer of ebooks, audio books and a hugely inventive video offering of children’s storytimes, craft workshops, cookery demos and gardening tips.
Around half of our library buildings will be opening in phase 1 in the first half of July - these have been chosen because their the size, layout and facilities make social distancing possible.
COVID-19 Secure arrangements will protect the safety of customers and staff:
- Returned books will be quarantined for 72 hours
- No newspaper reading areas
- Reception desks fitted with acrylic screens
- Some staff will wear PPE
- Enhanced cleaning regimes
- Shorter opening hours
- Cashless purchases
- Customer kiosks in operation
A key feature on the new look arrangements is The Library Takeaway where customers will phone or email a library to pre-order their titles and Library staff will pack them in paper bags, ready for collection.
In the initial phase, browsing will be limited to larger libraries, where social distancing is easier.
Remaining libraries will open towards the end of July, with the range of services also being increased gradually. As government advice changes, the service will be reviewed and extended when it is safe to do so.
Diana Edmonds, MBE, National Libraries Director at Better said:
“We’ve been working behind the scenes readying our Better Libraries for the welcome return of customers from 6 July.
“We’ve maintained our online offer during lockdown and this has been popular with library users stuck at home.
”But there’s no denying the social benefits of a library visit and as a social enterprise Better are keen to get back to serving our lovely library users, helping them find what they want and ensuring they get the most out of their visit.”
We look forward to seeing you soon.