Suffolk Libraries is sharing more details of when library buildings will be reopening and how services will initially be different.
In line with the recent government announcement, most library buildings in Suffolk will reopen during the week beginning Monday 6 July. Suffolk Libraries is also pleased to announce the mobile library service will be returning the same week, with certain safety procedures in place to protect customers and staff.
Initially, the government have advised against allowing customers to browse books and other items. When libraries reopen Suffolk Libraries will therefore be implementing a new ‘select and collect’ service and customers will not be able to browse or choose books in the library.
Customers will be asked to call or email in advance to request items which they can then pick up from the library. There will be more details nearer the time but customers can already use our online form to make their requests for libraries to process when they reopen.
Most libraries will be operating reduced hours due to the arrangements which need to be in place to operate safely. Saxmundham Library and Great Cornard Library will not initially be able to reopen just yet. Full details of when libraries are opening and their revised opening hours are now available.
Libraries will be installing screens at enquiry desks, 30 of which have been kindly donated by Barclays Bank. Other safety precautions will also be in place, many of which - like the use of hand sanitisers and asking people to maintain a safe distance from others - people will already be familiar with.
Suffolk Libraries would recommend that customers wear a face covering when visiting if possible and will be asking staff to do the same. Customers who are being shielded or are self-isolating should stay away from the library for now. It would also help if customers could come on their own if possible.
Suffolk Libraries will continue to provide a wide variety of interactive sessions and digital content through this website and libraries' social media accounts. Additionally, Suffolk Libraries new Lifeline service which is supported by the East of England Coop, will continue to make contact with some of our most vulnerable customers.
Bruce Leeke, Chief Executive of Suffolk Libraries, said:
“We are excited about reopening libraries again and I hope customers will understand that we’ve had to introduce some changes to ensure that this can be done safely. The wellbeing and safety of our staff and customers is always our number one priority. We will review the situation over the coming weeks and reintroduce services and activities when it’s safe to do so. Everyone at Suffolk Libraries really appreciates the support and patience of our customers during this difficult time. We’re all getting used to a new normal but I’m confident that Suffolk Libraries has a big part to play in Suffolk communities.”
The following temporary changes to services will also be in place:
- Customers can only borrow 10 items at a time (not 20) but can keep them for an extended period of up to 4 weeks.
- Borrowing DVDs and CDS will be free until further notice.
- Overdue charges will remain suspended throughout July and August.
- Return dates for loans taken out prior to lockdown will be extended to 31 August.
- Access to computers, printing and photocopying will be unavailable during July.
- Reservations will also be unavailable during July but we hope to reintroduce them as soon as possible.
- Room hire and activities will remain suspended for the time being.
Although return dates have been extended Suffolk Libraries would be very grateful if customers can return books if they’ve finished reading them so they can be fed back into the system for other people to borrow. If you’re just returning items you can use the library book drop for this, if they have one.
For more information about these temporary changes visit our COVID-19 information page.