The Government issued instructions for all libraries to close on 23rd March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Now, from Monday 13th July, Central Library and Archive will open on weekdays only, from 10am until 3pm.
Strict safety measures will be in place to maintain social distancing as well as more regular cleaning of equipment, such as:
Public computers reduced by two thirds, and study space seating reduced by 50% to achieve social distancing of 2 metres
Public computers to be booked in advance by telephone, email, or in person and a strict time limit of one hour per person to allow more people an opportunity to access the PCs and enable a change-over of 15 minutes between bookings for staff to clean keyboard, mouse and workstation
Archive access by appointment only
No events and no meeting room use, and the café to remain closed
Visitors’ names and contact details recorded to help with the Test and Trace programme
Decisions’ on the reopening of other libraries across the city will be made in the coming weeks, based on size and location
Deputy Mayor and Cabinet member for libraries, Councillor Wendy Simon, said, “Our libraries are hugely valued and popular, but sadly we had no choice but to close them during the pandemic. We have been working closely with staff and trade unions on detailed preparations for reopening, which will minimise the risk of the spread of the infection. This means the library will be open for less hours, so that we can carry out a deep clean before and after opening. People will also see a difference when they go into the library, including Perspex screens at counters, less furniture to help with social distancing and two metre signage. There will also be fewer public computers available, and we will need people to book in to use them. We hope that everyone understands that ensuring the safety of our staff and the public is of paramount importance. More branches will be reopening at some point in the future but we are still working through the detail of that, as we are looking to get a geographical spread across the city and looking carefully at the amount of space inside for social distancing. I’d like to thank library users for their patience and understanding, and remember that if you do want to read a book, you can access our e-books and home library services.”
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