Library Service Recovery

A message from Gary Porter, Gary Porter, Head of Libraries and Communities

You will hopefully know that whilst libraries have been closed during the pandemic the library service has open for you online.

I am sure you have been closely following the communications from government outlining the next stages of the national ‘recovery plan’. Libraries are included in Phase 3 of this schedule which is effective from 4 July. This means that if the rate of transmission is declining in the country we can from this date offer some form of physical library service.

What might this look like?

It will not be the full opening of libraries. Our priority is the health and safety of all our staff, volunteers and customers in line with Public Health advice and guidance.

We are currently planning what our initial phase of re-opening will look like but in headline terms this will be:

  • limited opening hours at some libraries across the county to give reasonable geographic coverage
  • no mobile library services due to the challenge of making a confined space safe
  • a click and collect book service – not open access, no browsing as in normal times
  • managed, time limited access to our IT facilities
  • reinstating the phone line so that customers without home IT can contact the service
  • Home Library Service – already partially reinstated but we will look to restore to all customers who normally receive this service

Our approach is to start with a small, carefully managed offer that can be gradually grown in line with circumstances and Public Health guidance and requirements.

When will libraries re-open?

The limited offer described above is likely to roll out late July/August but. We will communicate exact dates when they are agreed.

Could this timetable change?

Yes. We are guided by advice from the government and you will be aware that if the public health situation deteriorates the country may revert to stringent lock down measures and if so we would have to revise our approach to re-opening libraries.

We live in extraordinary times but at all times the library service is here for you online. We look forward to welcoming customers old and new back into our libraries in the future.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) update on 28/04/20:

From Monday 23 March all Library buildings will be closed.

  • All public events have been cancelled until further notice
  • All library charges have been suspended and the due dates of items will be extended until at least the end of the Government advised lockdown for shielded individuals
  • There will be no cancellation fees for any activities or room bookings during this time
  • Join the library to read or listen to books and use our online resources (Please note: your library card number will be emailed to you whilst libraries are closed)

The service is working to create an alternative offer.

We are now expanding the libraries online offer. This includes investing more resources into our e-offer as well as planning online events. We are adding free resources on a daily basis so please do look regularly.

Follow Cambridgeshire Libraries on Twitter or our Facebook page for more news on this.

We will also use the Library Service infrastructure to support the new countywide Co-ordination Hub, with

  • Library delivery vans and mobile vehicles available to provide transport infrastructure for the distribution of essential goods and services to communities, care homes and individual housebound as required – mobiles already distribute batteries and are in discussion with food banks about deliveries
  • Library staff to be redeployed through The Hub and in support of the interim service outlined above