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New chapter for library with plans to reopen - but only with appointments

New chapter for library with plans to reopen - but only with appointments

by Danielle Thompson (July 2020)

SKELMERSDALE Library will reopen next week but with reduced hours and locals will need to make appointments.

Libraries have been closed since March when the coronavirus restrictions were first introduced.

On Monday, July 27, a total of 12 libraries will reopen across Lancashire – including Skelmersdale - and they will open from Monday to Friday, 10am to 1pm.

Customers will need to book an appointment to use either of the two services that will be available, which are as follows:

- ‘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, July 23, prioritising the 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.”

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.

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