Surrey County Council plans to start gradually reopening libraries across the county from 6 July, in line with Government guidance. The first libraries to reopen will be Camberley, Dorking, Woking, Staines, Redhill, Horley, Epsom, Egham, Oxted, Farnham, Weybridge, Godalming and Guildford.
The county’s libraries closed on 20 March due to the coronavirus lockdown and the Council is now planning to reopen services in a safe way with guidelines in place for social distancing.
The priority will be staff and customer safety, which means the libraries will have to operate in a different way with a reduced service, limited capacity in buildings, additional cleaning measures and guidelines in place for social distancing.
Customers will be able to visit open libraries to browse and borrow books, but they won’t be able to use public computers and printing services, nor will they be able to read newspapers, use study spaces or seating areas. As well as a free reservation service, customers can also take advantage of ‘ready reads’ – a new service where they tell the library what books they enjoy and library staff handpick a selection for them to collect from their nearest open library.
Despite the buildings being closed, Surrey’s libraries have seen a huge increase in membership with numbers up 110% compared to a similar period last year, as people join online from home. Library members have been enjoying a varied offer of digital services, with over 11,000 e-books and audiobooks downloaded since lockdown began. Videos on the popular Surrey Libraries Facebook channel, including online Rhymetime sessions, craft and science activities and even an online Lego club, have reached over 230,000 people. Videos have been so popular that the Surrey Libraries have launched a new YouTube channel.
Visit the website to keep up to date with which libraries are open and what services are open: https://www.surreycc.gov.uk/libraries/news-and-events/library-news/coronavirus
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