West Berkshire Council

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Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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West Berkshire Libraries Phased Reopening to the Public

2020 - West Berkshire Libraries sign

Issued on: 30 June 2020

West Berkshire Council has announced plans for restoring the library service to the public and staff are working hard on a phased reopening to keep everyone safe.

Our services and spaces are important to our entire community and we can't wait to reopen our doors. The first stage from the 13 July will be to re-open Newbury, Hungerford and Thatcham Libraries for book collections during limited opening hours. We hope to open our other libraries on the same basis the following week.

In order to ensure that it is safe for customers to return, customers can expect changes which are in line with government guidance on managing the risk of Covid-19; all buildings have been thoroughly deep-cleaned, and have reception screens in place. All customers will be asked to use hand sanitiser which will be provided as they enter the library, and also to observe social distancing requirements.

Customers will be able to use the normal reservation service for specific titles, or our new Order and Collect service. This will allow them to specify the sort of books they like to read. Library staff will then hand-pick a selection of books (maximum five) according to individual requirements, and perhaps introduce some new authors. Customers will then be notified when the books are ready for collection and given a time to collect (they may need to queue). Books can then be returned after the usual three weeks and library staff will make sure they are safe and ready for the next person to borrow.

 No overdue fines are currently being charged. book orders can be placed online or by calling your local library.

There will be no access to any areas of the library apart from a collections desk and that enquiries should continue to be sent by email or telephone. There will be no toilets, baby changing facilities, seating areas or public PCs available at this stage.

West Berkshire Libraries have already resumed their At Home service, which delivers books to housebound users. This service is a vital link for customers who aren't able to visit libraries due to age, disability or other special circumstance, and the library team are now planning to expand the service to those who are vulnerable and self-isolating. To find out more about the At Home service, call 01635 519827 or email library@westberks.gov.uk.

Howard Woollaston Portfolio Holder for Public Health, Community Wellbeing, Sports and Culture said:

"I am delighted that after three months of lockdown we are beginning to get back to a degree of normality. I know how important the Library Service is to so many people in the community of all ages so it is a huge relief."

Follow WBerksLibraries on social media for the latest news, including details of opening hours as our other libraries resume services too.