Shropshire Council

Impact of coronavirus on libraries - post-lockdown update

02 December 2020 Last updated at 10:04
Please note that the information below was correct at the stated date of publishing, and supersedes any related information included in older news pages under the 'Recent news' heading on this page

In line with national Covid guidelines libraries are currently open. The safety of staff and customers remains the top priority so various measures are in place to ensure that libraries are safe spaces for everyone (see the frequently asked questions on this page for further details).

As part of our Covid measures libraries are operating on temporarily reduced opening times so please check your local branch for details.

For those who prefer the convenience of click & collect our Ready Reads service is also available.

Ready Reads Collect

Ready Reads Collect provides a different way for you to get books to read or listen to on a ‘click & collect’ basis.

To get your Ready Reads, complete the online form to tell us what sort of books you’re after and a few other details. Library staff will then put together a selection of books based on what you’ve told us and we’ll contact you when they’re ready to pick-up from the library.

We’re operating this as a contactless service from library entrance foyers. Library staff will be observing all appropriate measures such as social distancing and frequent hand-washing, and any returned library books will be placed in quarantine for 72 hours.

What to expect in your library - FAQs

Can I come into the library to browse?

Yes you can come into libraries to browse, however library staff may ask you to limit your visit to 15 minutes if others are waiting to come in.

Why have the opening hours been reduced?

As a temporary measure many of our libraries will be operating on reduced opening times. This is to allow for additional cleaning of libraries, to manage the quarantining of books, and to enable staff to carry out tasks in the library that may be difficult during open hours.

What differences will I see?

To enable social distancing we'll limit the number of people in the library at the same time, we may have altered the layout of the library to help people to keep apart, and entrance/exit points may have changed. We may have removed tables and chairs to improve circulation space and to reduce the risk of virus spread.

What other safety measures will be in place?

Hand-sanitiser will be available for customers and we encourage everyone to make use of it. There may be protective screens on library counters so please stand in front of these when dealing with staff. We’ll be sanitising touch-point surfaces regularly during the day. Library stock will be quarantined for 72 hours on return.

Will I need to wear a face covering?

Yes face coverings are now mandatory in all Shropshire Council buildings, including libraries.

Will I be able to use the computers?

There will be a reduced number of computers available for use and equipment will be sanitised between users. Sessions may be limited to 45 minutes depending on capacity, and these must be pre-booked by contacting the relevant library. Library staff won’t be able to assist you on the computers quite as much as before.

Are you still charging fines for things that are overdue?

No. All overdue fines are currently suspended.

Are libraries involved in the Track & Trace scheme?

Along with many other venues libraries have been asked by the government to collect contact details for everyone who comes in to the library. Your correct details may already be on our library system, but if not we'll ask for contact details when you arrive.

What about newspapers and other reference items?

We can't quarantine or sanitise some things such as newspapers, leaflets and some reference materials so these will be unavailable until the risk of spreading the virus has been reduced. Items for sale won’t generally be available for the time-being.

Will there be events and activities in the library?

Events and activities in libraries will be reintroduced as soon as we can hold them safely. In the meantime we're continuing to develop our programme of online events and activities for all ages. 

What other services are available if I still can’t get to the library?

You can access our online services via the e-Library page, where you can find e-books, e-audiobooks, newspapers and magazines, plus a range of other digital resources.