Readers to be welcomed back into libraries as restrictions further relaxed

Libraries across Suffolk are bringing back more services over the next few weeks. Picture: RACHEL ED

Libraries across Suffolk are bringing back more services over the next few weeks. Picture: RACHEL EDGE - Credit: Archant

Readers will be able to browse the shelves and select the books they want to borrow as Suffolk Libraries offer more services during the autumn.

Most libraries in Suffolk have been open for the last few weeks, offering a select and collect service. There have been nearly 3,000 requests to use this service with over 41,500 books and other items borrowed since libraries reopened.

Now they are looking to take the next steps to a more normal service with some libraries now offering access to computers for tasks such as Universal Credit applications and job seeking. Photocopying and printing are also being reintroduced in some libraries too.

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These services are being launched in a smaller number of sites first so Suffolk Libraries can check how new safety procedures are working before making them available again in all libraries by the end of August.

Reservations from the library catalogue were also made available again last week and due to its popularity the select and collect service will remain available for the foreseeable future.

Krystal Vittles, Suffolk Libraries head of service delivery, said: “We’re very pleased with how reopening libraries has gone so far and are grateful to customers for their patience and support. It’s important that we get a balance between getting things back to normal and taking sensible steps to protect people’s health and wellbeing.”

Suffolk Libraries intends to reintroduce browsing in libraries by the end of September with activities being introduced from November onwards. The aim is to also reintroduce normal library opening hours when and where possible over the coming months with the aim to get libraries back to their pre-lockdown opening hours by the end of the calendar year.

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From Saturday, August 8 it will also be a legal requirement for all visitors to a library to wear a face covering.

Once customers enter the library to use a printer or computer, they will also be invited to take part in the test and trace process by leaving their name and contact details. Their details will only be used for test and trace purposes and staff will dispose of the information after 21 days.

Saxmundham and Great Cornard libraries cannot reopen for the time being. Great Cornard is running a local delivery service for customers who are unable to get to another library with Saxmundham soon launching a similar service.

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