Staffordshire libraries are reintroducing browsing among the shelves as part of the phased reopening after lockdown.
From today (1st September) library customers will be able to make their own choices at the 16 libraries directly managed by the county council.
Limited PC use at those 16 libraries was restored during August, while the ‘order and collect’ service remains in place for book borrowing if people do not want to browse the library shelves.
Victoria Wilson, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet member responsible for Libraries, said: “This is another step in the journey towards normality in our libraries.
“Staff will be on hand to talk users through the process until they’re used to it and it will be lovely to see customers browsing books in the libraries once more.
“We know how much our libraries mean to people and we’re working hard to make them as welcoming as possible.”
Hand sanitising, hygiene and social distancing arrangements are all in place and everyone entering a library is asked to wear a face covering in line with government guidance.
The number of people allowed into the library will be tightly monitored and customers will be asked to hand sanitise on entry so that any books they touch do not need to be quarantined for 72 hours. Children are welcome but Y6 and below must be accompanied by an adult.
Seating, toilets, newspapers and magazines will not yet be available.
People who wish to use Library PCs are asked to book a 1-hour session in advance, either by emailing the library direct or calling on 0300 111 8000, and there will be 30-minute intervals between bookings to allow for cleaning of equipment.
The 16 libraries directly managed by the county council are at Biddulph, Burntwood Burton, Cannock, Codsall, Leek, Lichfield, Kidsgrove, Newcastle, Perton, Rugeley, Stafford, Stone, Tamworth, Uttoxeter and Wombourne.
Staffordshire’s Community Managed Libraries have also begun reopening at their own pace and users should check for the latest information here.
Victoria Wilson added: “The strategy has been to allow the county council-managed libraries to reopen first and then share any lessons learned with the community managed ones.
“The community managed libraries do a wonderful job and we are supporting them closely as they reopen their doors.”