Following a recent Wiltshire Council public consultation on reopening some library services during the COVID-19 pandemic, the libraries in Chippenham, Salisbury and Trowbridge will open their doors to the public, for the first time since 20 March, next week.
Trowbridge Library will open from 3 August, and Chippenham and Salisbury Library on 4 August, with safety measures in place to ensure social distancing to keep people as safe as possible.
These libraries will be fully reopened for people to browse for a certain amount of time, to select and loan books and use the computers.
More than 7,000 people took part in a consultation on how the council could reopen library services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In looking through the feedback throughout the duration of the consultation, it was quickly apparent that people are keen for some libraries to reopen as soon as possible. Therefore the council will open three of Wiltshire’s biggest libraries first, with more expected to follow in due course.
Here’s the key information customers need to know:
- Opening hours will be:
- Trowbridge – Monday, Thursday and Saturday 10am – 1pm and 2pm – 4pm .
- Chippenham & Salisbury – Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday – 10am – 1pm and 2pm – 4pm.
- Loan items continue to be renewed automatically, currently to the end of September, so there is no rush to return items
- People can attend one of these libraries and browse for up to 30 minutes
- People are advised to be sensible and not pick up and put back lots of books
- Social distancing measures will be in place, with clear signage
- Hand sanitiser will be available at each library
- Depending on how many people are using the library, people may have to queue outside upon arrival
- Computers in the libraries can be used for 45 minutes, but people must book them in advance. They can be booked by phoning the relevant library during their opening hours.
- People should bring their library cards
- Returned books will be stored for 72 hours before being put back on shelves
- Screens will be in place at main customer service desk
- People will be asked to provide contact details as part of the COVID-19 test and trace system. Details will be handled in accordance with GDPR laws
The following will not be available at the three libraries for the time being:
- Toilet facilities
- Group activities such as book clubs and rhyme time sessions
- Newspapers and magazines
- Reservation service
The online library content, which has proven to be hugely popular over the lockdown period, will continue. So far, there has been more than 100,000 views of library videos, such as rhyme and story time, since March.
Cllr Ian Blair-Pilling, Cabinet Member for Libraries. said: “We thank the thousands of people for taking time out to respond to our consultation, which shows huge and passionate support for our libraries. It was clear that people wanted some libraries to reopen so we’re working hard to get three of our biggest ones ready and safe for people to visit.
“We are making a careful phased return of some services during the pandemic and that’s to ensure the safety of our staff and the public, while making the best use of our current resources and finances. We’ll have more details soon on the other services and libraries returning, but in the meantime, we’re looking forward to welcoming people back and seeing some of our libraries once again become a focal point in their local communities.”
More information about the continued reopening of some library services during the COVID-19 pandemic will be confirmed in due course.
More information about library services can be found at www.wiltshire.gov.uk/libraries-home