Shropshire Council

Phased reopening of libraries (22 July update)

22 July 2020 Last updated at 04:17
Find out the latest from our 26 August update news page.

As part of lockdown easing the government has stated that libraries can now begin to reopen. Detailed national guidance for libraries indicates that reopening should be a gradual step-by-step process to ensure the safety of staff, volunteers and library users.

Based on this guidance Shropshire Libraries are taking a phased approach to reopening library services. This means that initially libraries will not be open for public access, with services and access to buildings being reintroduced gradually through July and August.

This phased approach will help us to ensure that libraries are safe spaces for all, and that the services we offer can be delivered safely. It also gives us the opportunity to review our approach as we go along with the flexibility to adjust our plans accordingly if required.

As they reopen our libraries will look and feel different. On this page there are some frequently asked questions that explain what you can expect as libraries reopen.

Here is a summary of our timescale for reopening.

Ludlow, Oswestry, Shrewsbury

From 20 July - these libraries will be open with reduced opening times. Open Monday to Friday 10am to 3pm (closed for lunch midday – 1pm. Ludlow closed Thursdays). Open Saturdays 10am to 1pm.

Bishop’s Castle, Bridgnorth, Broseley, Church Stretton, Cleobury Mortimer, Ellesmere, Market Drayton, Shifnal, Whitchurch

From 20 July – these libraries remain closed but the Ready Reads Collect service will be available.

From 3 August – these libraries will be open with reduced opening times as follows:

Bridgnorth, Market Drayton, Whitchurch, Church Stretton open Monday to Friday 10am to 3pm (closed for lunch midday – 1pm. Bridgnorth and Market Drayton closed Thursdays. Whitchurch closed Wednesdays. Church Stretton closed Mondays/Wednesdays). All open Saturdays 10am to 1pm.

Bishop’s Castle will have some limited opening, details to be confirmed.

Broseley will have some limited opening, details to be confirmed.

Cleobury Mortimer open Monday to Saturday 10am to 12:30pm / 2pm to 4pm.

Ellesmere open Tuesday and Friday 10am to 1pm / 2pm to 4pm. Open Saturdays 10am to 1pm.

Shifnal open Monday to Friday 10am to 2pm.

Albrighton, Bayston Hill, Craven Arms, Gobowen, Highley, Library at the Lantern, Much Wenlock, Pontesbury, Wem

These libraries will reopen during August. Details for individual locations to be confirmed.

Ready Reads Collect

Ready Reads Collect is a different way of enabling you to get hold of books to read or listen to.

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 when libraries open - FAQs

Why aren’t libraries all opening as normal?

In order to keep everybody safe your library will look and feel different when it reopens. These changes are in line with detailed national guidance for libraries that recommends a step-by-step approach to reopening.

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 will 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 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 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.

I’ve still got books on loan since before lockdown, will there be overdue fines?

All overdue fines are currently suspended so there’s no need to worry if you have things on loan. Just aim to return them once your library is open.

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 will ask for contact details when you arrive.

What about newspapers and other reference items?

We cannot 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?

We will continue to bring you our programme of online events and activities as we reopen, and events and activities in libraries themselves will be reintroduced as soon as we can hold them safely.

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.