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Libraries to reopen from early July

Suffolk Libraries is planning to reopen libraries in July.

Current government guidance is that libraries must remain closed for now but can start to reopen from 4 July at the earliest as long as all the necessary precautions are followed.

Suffolk Libraries is therefore pleased to announce that planning is well under way for most library buildings to reopen during the week beginning Monday 6 July.

Most libraries are closed on Mondays and are more likely to reopen on Tuesday 7 July. Some libraries may open slightly later in July. Opening times are initially likely to be different for all library buildings. Getting 44 different sites open safely requires careful planning and more information will be shared with customers as soon as possible so everyone understands what’s happening in their local library.

Krystal Vittles, Head of Service Delivery at Suffolk Libraries, said:

“Many people have been enjoying engaging with us online but we know people have missed visiting their library so the prospect of reopening our physical sites is great news. The safety and wellbeing of staff and customers will remain the priority. We hope that customers will understand that we’ll have to implement measures to reduce the risk and ensure social distancing can be maintained.”

“We’ve already adapted by putting a greater focus on our diverse online offer. We’ve also launched exciting new services to ensure we can help people stay connected and offer support and advice to people remotely. We’ll carry on running these even after library buildings reopen and will continue to reach out to the community in a number of different ways.”

Customers should be aware that services in library buildings will look a little different for the foreseeable future, but hopefully people will understand why the following measures are essential:

  • The government has advised that browsing of books and other items should be discouraged for safety reasons so libraries will initially be offering a limited selection of stock for people to choose from.

  • The reservation service will be reintroduced slowly, starting with a ‘Select and collect’ service where customers can ask staff to prepare a small selection of books based on a genre or author they’re interested in. The full reservation system will be reintroduced after all libraries re-open.

  • Suffolk Libraries will be following national guidance on setting up social distancing and safety precautions. This is likely to include queuing, only offering cashless payment and greater reliance on self-service facilities. Suffolk Libraries has recently launched online payments to make paying charges easier. There will also be screens in place at enquiry desks, 30 of which have been kindly donated by Barclays Bank.

  • Suffolk Libraries is still investigating when some services such as computer access, printing and the mobile library service can be safely reintroduced.

  • Events in libraries will remain suspended for now but people can still enjoy the hundreds of activities which library staff are streaming and sharing online.

Reopening libraries will of course depend on further Government announcements and full details of reopening dates and opening times will be shared on this website in the coming weeks. In the meantime people can continue to access our extensive eLibrary service.