FOUR of the city council’s libraries and two of its children’s centres will be opened up next week.
Following the easing of some coronavirus restrictions in Leicester, the city council is now able to reopen some of its multi-service centres and increase access to services, in line with Government advice.
It means that from Monday 10 August, people will be able to visit multi-service centre libraries at Beaumont Leys, the Pork Pie Library & Community Centre, St Barnabas Library and St Matthews Centre.
In Highfields and Thurnby Lodge, children’s centres will reopen to provide essential health services for children, young people and families. Braunstone, Beaumont Leys, Saffron and Wodbridge children’s centres have remained open throughout the pandemic to do targeted work with families, so this brings the total number of children’s centres open in the city to six.
In line with the council’s plans for reopening, the first four libraries to reopen are based in buildings which also offer access to housing advice.
The four libraries will initially reopen for reduced hours and offer a limited range of services. They will be open Monday-Friday from 10am-4pm.
Social distancing measures will be in place in the buildings, taking account of the latest Government safety guidelines to help keep both staff and visitors safe. These will include queueing systems, signs to remind people to keep a safe distance apart and screens at reception desks. In line with Government guidance, face coverings must be worn by people aged over 11 in public buildings as well as in shops.
Assistant city mayor for neighbourhoods Cllr Kirk Master said: “Our libraries and multi-service centres are important community hubs and we’ve really missed having them open, so it’s great that we are now able to start opening back up and welcoming people back into our buildings.
“We know that our multi-service centres offer vital support to our communities and we are committed to providing as many neighbourhood services as we can from these locations, just as soon as it is safely possible to do so.
“Obviously, our top priority is to keep everyone safe, so we have to open up in a controlled and measured way. We hope everyone will understand why this is necessary.
“We know that reading has been extremely popular during the lockdown and we’ve always prioritised our libraries as a hugely important council service, which is why we are opening some of them up as soon as possible. Other buildings and branches will follow over the coming months, in line with our reopening plan and updated Government guidance.”
Visitors to the reopened buildings will be asked for their name and contact details. This is a Government requirement so that people can be contacted by the coronavirus test and trace service if necessary.
Visitors to library buildings will need to be aware of the following:
- Initially, a limited number of services will be available, with priority given to council housing enquiries, book loans and access to computers for short sessions.
- From Monday 10 August, customers will be able to order their books in advance of their visit, by selecting books online at leicester.gov.uk/libraries or by calling the library they wish to visit. Customers are advised that ordering books in advance is preferable.
- The number of public computers available has been reduced in line with social distancing guidelines. Customers must book in advance at leicester.gov.uk/libraries and this booking service is available now. Alternatively, from Monday 10 August, you can call the library you wish to use to make a booking.
- Overdue charges have been suspended. We have also extended book loans up to six weeks.
- Please remember to bring your library card as we are asking customers to use our self-service kiosks if possible.
- Not all of our services will be available - we are unable to provide social activities such as under-fives sessions or community group bookings at this time. Browsing time will be limited to 15 minutes and newspapers and magazines cannot yet be supplied.
For visitors to city children’s centres:
- Only essential services such as health visiting and midwifery clinics will be running.
- There will be some targeted work that takes place with families, but this will be by appointment only.
- If you need any help or support, please call the Advice Point on 0116 454 1004.
The city council is working towards reopening all of its children’s centres and youth centres by early September. A booking system will be introduced for families. More information can be found at https://families.leicester.gov.uk/childrens-centres/
Further city council buildings will reopen over the coming weeks and months in line with the city council’s recovery plan.
Meanwhile, Leicester Libraries’ online services will continue - including access to a wide range of e-books, e-comics and e-magazines, plus weekly online storytelling sessions for children – at www.leicester.gov.uk/librariesfromhome