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Reopening libraries - a message from our Chief Executive Bruce Leeke

Bruce Leeke Suffolk Libraries CEO Bruce Leeke, CEO of Suffolk Libraries. Photo by Sonya Duncan courtesy of Archant.

Hello everyone, in these unprecedented times I just wanted to share a message of thanks to all our customers, supporters and partner organisations.

Many people have supported or engaged with the different and innovative ways we’ve run Suffolk Libraries during lockdown. Much of what’s happened during this most challenging of periods has epitomised the spirit of Suffolk and especially its people’s love of their libraries.

I’m immensely proud of Suffolk Libraries and especially our staff and how we’ve reacted to support people across the county. Many people have appreciated the way we’ve reached out to them during lockdown as we’ve made life just that bit better in the face of COVID-19. I also know that many people will be looking forward to visiting library buildings again, just as we are looking forward to welcoming them.

We’d like to thank customers for their patience while libraries have been closed and are thrilled to be reopening almost every building soon. I know that things will feel a little different for a while and I hope people will understand that any temporary changes are essential for the wellbeing and safety of our staff and customers.

I do appreciate the temporary changes we have to make will mean some people can’t access some aspects of our service. We will be reviewing the situation constantly and hope to reintroduce these as soon as we can. I can reassure you that a great deal of thought and time has gone into getting our buildings open again. We have to follow government advice and although lockdown measures are being relaxed, we all still need to act carefully and responsibly. Our safety first approach also reflects that taken by major businesses like McDonalds and John Lewis who are carefully phasing their reopening.

A good example specific to libraries is that the government are currently discouraging libraries from allowing the browsing of books and other items. This is why our new select and collect service will be running for the time being.

Like many other organisations Suffolk Libraries and everyone we interact with is adjusting to the new normal. The organisation is nearly 8 years old and one of our great strengths is being able to adapt to challenges and particularly the needs of local people to make a huge impact in our communities. So, although library buildings are reopening we’ll continue to provide an exciting mix of physical and virtual resources, with a wide variety of interactive online sessions and digital content through our website and social media. Our Lifeline service will also continue to make contact with some of our most vulnerable customers.

Thank you. As always we really appreciate your support.

Bruce Leeke

For more information about libraries reopening visit our COVID-19 information page.