We will be closing the county’s library buildings to the public for the foreseeable future from the end of tomorrow, Friday 20 March.
The decision has been taken following advice from Public Health England and the government regarding social distancing to reduce the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
Bruce Leeke, Chief Executive of Suffolk Libraries said:
“We regret taking this decision but hope customers understand that we have to put people’s health and wellbeing first. It’s important to stress that the library service itself will not be closing.
“We know that many vulnerable and older people across the county rely on Suffolk Libraries for social interaction and information. We are already exploring how we continue to reach customers with the county council and our staff. I’m grateful to all our staff for their commitment to keep providing a library service during this very trying period.”
Library buildings will close to customers from the end of Friday and the mobile library service will be suspended. We have been working closely with county council and have made this decision with their agreement.
County Councillor Paul West added:
“Libraries are at the heart of our communities and support a range of services across Suffolk. It is our priority to ensure that people can still access services while balancing the welfare needs of staff.”
We are working on developing new ways of providing services to people and will share details in the near future. This will include exploring a mobile offer to customers which doesn’t compromise anyone’s health.
All library events and activities have already been suspended to ensure the safety of our customers and staff. The Home Library Service has also been suspended but the volunteers who run the service are maintaining telephone contact with their older and disabled customers to help them feel less isolated.
We have suspended charges for overdue books and extended reservation and return dates indefinitely, so customers do not need to worry about renewing or returning items.
Please note customers will not be able to place new reservations.
Customers can use our extensive and free eLibrary services during the closure. There are around 60,000 items available including eBooks, eAudiobooks, magazines and newspapers. You can also stream music, films and documentaries.
Customers will still be able to contact the customer service team with any enquiries. The team are available Monday to Friday 9-5 and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 01473 351249. As staff are now operating this service remotely, customers will have to leave a message and someone will get back to them as soon as possible.