Swindon libraries begin to reopen

By Barrie Hudson - 14 July 2020

CommunityArts and Culture

A phased reopening of Swindon Borough Council-run libraries started today - Tuesday, 14 July.

  • Access will initially be limited but digital services will continue to operate

    Access will initially be limited but digital services will continue to operate

The first to open is the Central Library, which is operating a new Click, Call and Collect service.

The council's four other libraries will begin operating a similar service in two weeks' time.

Like other libraries across the country, Swindon's have been closed since March as part of attempts to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Following the lifting of Government restrictions, additional national guidance was released last week outlining how libraries can reopen.

Councillor Russell Holland, Cabinet Member for Commercialisation, Education and Skills, said: “Libraries provide a vital service for our communities and I am glad we can now announce the resumption of some services.

“Our staff have been working hard, within national guidelines, to get library buildings open and to get access to physical books up and running as soon as possible, while ensuring the safety of both residents and staff. The Click, Call and Collect service will give people access to our books, while also making sure we do our part to continue to limit the spread of COVID-19.

“We also have a fantastic digital offer that is still available and I would encourage people to look at the services available through that part of the library service.”

Any residents interested in services available at non council-run community libraries, will need to contact those individual libraries for information on reopening.

The resumption of services will be a phased process over the next few months, with the Click, Call and Collect service followed by a wider reopening, currently scheduled for later in August. More details of the August opening will follow in the coming weeks.

The Click, Call and Collect service involves limited hours and customers reserving books either by phone or online.

The service will initially only be available at the Central Library, and will then be introduced to the North Swindon, West Swindon, Highworth and Park libraries on Monday, 27 July, following additional work to make those buildings COVID-secure.

When books are ready to be collected, customers will be contacted by a member of staff and asked to collect their items from the Central Library during the designated opening times. 

For vulnerable residents or those unable to visit the library in person, books can be collected on their behalf.

Library buildings will have very limited access, with many only opening foyers to exchange books.

Residents will not be able to access the buildings’ other services such as toilets, computers or study areas.

The libraries’ digital services will continue to operate, including the new Instant Digital Membership system, an expanded range of eResources, an increased and improved selection of eBooks, eMagazines, eNewspapers and eComics and a series of regular online story times shared on YouTube and Facebook.

More information on the reopening of the Council’s libraries, including dates, times, how to return items and Click, Call and Collect service can be found on the Council’s website here: https://www.swindon.gov.uk/reopeninglibraries

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