FIVE further libraries are preparing to reopen in Leicester next week.
From Monday 14 September, Evington Library, Fosse Library, Knighton Library, Rushey Mead Library and Westcotes Library will reopen to the public. As with other libraries which have already reopened in the city, all will be operating reduced opening hours to begin with, and offering a limited range of services.
It is part of the council’s plans for phased reopening of neighbourhood facilities, prioritising access to information, books and computers first. Further services such as community room bookings and community activities will recommence later.
Assistant city mayor for neighbourhoods Cllr Kirk Master said: “This latest phase of our reopening plan means almost all of our libraries are now open again.
“We are reopening in a phased, controlled way because the most important thing is the safety of our staff and visitors. This means at first, we’ll be operating reduced opening hours and services, from 10am until 4pm on weekdays only.
“Some libraries will also have a day in the week where they are closed, retaining their opening patterns from before. We’re busy making plans to extend the services we can offer as soon as possible.”
Libraries that have already reopened in Leicester are Beaumont Leys Library, the Pork Pie Library & Community Centre, St Matthews Centre and St Barnabas Library, as well as the Brite Centre Library, Belgrave Library, Hamilton Library, Highfields Library and New Parks Centre Library.
Services have been redesigned in line with the latest safety guidelines. Social distancing measures include queueing systems, distancing signs 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.
You will also be asked for your name and contact details if you are entering a council building. This is a Government requirement, so that you can be contacted by the test and trace service if needed.
Overdue charges on library books are currently suspended, and book loans have been extended for up to six weeks.
Library visitors are advised to order their books in advance of their visit, by selecting books online at www.leicester.gov.uk/libraries or by calling the library they wish to visit. Please remember to bring your library card with you, as people are being asked to use self-service kiosks wherever possible.
Not all library services will be available - social activities such as under-fives sessions or community group bookings will not currently take place. Browsing time will be limited to 15 minutes and newspapers and magazines cannot yet be supplied.
The number of public computers available has been reduced in line with social distancing guidelines. Customers must book in advance at www.leicester.gov.uk/libraries or by calling the library they wish to use.
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 online storytelling sessions for children – at www.leicester.gov.uk/librariesfromhome