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Reintroducing services in libraries - the next steps

Suffolk Libraries is announcing the next steps for reintroducing more services in the county’s libraries.

Most libraries in Suffolk have been open for the last few weeks, offering a select and collect service. There have been around 3,000 requests to use this service with nearly 41,500 books and other items borrowed since libraries reopened.

Reservations from the library catalogue were made available again last week and due to its popularity the select and collect service will remain available for the foreseeable future. Suffolk Libraries is now setting out plans for reintroducing more services over the coming weeks.

Some libraries are starting to offer access to computers for tasks such as Universal Credit applications and job seeking. Photocopying and printing are also being reintroduced in some libraries. These services are being launched in a smaller number of sites first so Suffolk Libraries can check how the new safety procedures are working before making them available again in all libraries by the end of August.

Customers will have to contact their library directly to make an appointment to use a computer and there will be cashless payment options for paying for printing and photocopying/scanning.

Libraries will be relaunching their computer access and printing and photocopying throughout August. You can see an up to date list of which libraries are offering these services on our COVID information page.

Krystal Vittles, Suffolk Libraries head of service delivery, said:

"We’re very pleased with how reopening libraries has gone so far and are grateful to customers for their patience and support. It’s important that we get a balance between getting things back to normal and taking sensible steps to protect people’s health and wellbeing. We’d advise people to check our website for updates as we reintroduce services across the county."

Suffolk Libraries intends to reintroduce browsing in libraries by the end of September with activities being introduced from November onwards. The aim is to also reintroduce normal library opening hours when and where possible over the coming months with the aim to get libraries back to their pre-lockdown opening hours by the end of the calendar year.

As with all these plans, everything is subject to changes in government advice and local COVID-19 infection rates.

From Saturday 8 August it will also be a legal requirement for all visitors to a library to wear a face covering. Once customers enter the library to use a printer or pc, they will also be invited to take part in the test and trace process by leaving their name and contact details. Their details will only be used for test and trace purposes and staff will dispose of the information after 21 days. You can read a privacy notice regarding the collection of test and trace information.

Saxmundham and Great Cornard libraries cannot reopen for the time being but both will be running a local delivery service for customers who are unable to get to another library.