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Browsing the shelves to return as more libraries set to re-open

Published: 29 July 2020

More of our libraries are set to re-open in August and customers will shortly be able to browse the shelves again at certain sites.

As well as more libraries re-opening, the new Belper Library on Derwent Street will open its doors on 10 August for the first time.

From Monday 3 August 2020 four more libraries are set to re-open their doors after being closed in March due to coronavirus, operating an appointment only system for book borrowing and computer use.

They are:

  • Ashbourne
  • Glossop
  • Ilkeston
  • Ripley

These 4 libraries join 9 which have already re-opened:

  • Alfreton
  • Bolsover
  • Buxton
  • Chesterfield
  • Dronfield
  • Heanor
  • Long Eaton
  • Matlock
  • Swadlincote

From Monday 10 August 2020 we will start to re-introduce browsing at selected libraries which have already re-opened, and this will roll out as the remaining libraries begin to re-open.

Customers at libraries where browsing has been re-introduced will not have to book appointments and will be able to just turn up. Each library will have a limit to the number of people that can come in at any one time, which will be monitored by staff. Once a library has reached capacity, customers will be asked to wait outside. Computers must still be booked.

Customers visiting libraries for browsing will be asked to leave their details as part of the test and trace programme and everyone using the library will be asked to wear a face covering, as they would in a shop, unless they are exempt. People will initially be given a 15-minute slot to browse and pick the books they want to borrow, but this could be longer if the library isn’t busy.

The first libraries to allow customers to browse from Monday 10 August 2020 are:

  • Belper (to open for the first time)
  • Chesterfield
  • Dronfield
  • Matlock
  • Swadlincote

Our overall aim is to re-open all 45 libraries when it can be done safely. View the schedule for the roll out of all library re-openings.

Customers are asked to check on the website to see when their local library is scheduled to re-open if it hasn’t already, and to check when browsing will be re-introduced.

People who do not have access to the internet can call the Library Information Service on tel: 01629 533444 where they can leave a message and receive a call back from a member of the library service team, or email

Currently all libraries are operating a `book and borrow’ appointment-only system and people are being urged not to turn up without having arranged their appointment first. This will run alongside the phased reintroduction of browsing.

Book and Borrow appointments for people wanting to take out books, can be arranged over the phone or by email, and use of library computers can be arranged by phone only. Staff will not be able to assist people using computers.

All currently borrowed books and other items have been automatically renewed until 30 September 2020 and people are being urged not to bring books back at this time unless they wish to borrow more. No overdue charges will be incurred for books which are currently borrowed.

All re-opened libraries currently have the same opening hours - 10am to 4pm Monday to Friday, and 10am to 2pm on Saturdays until further notice.

Library staff are monitoring how the new systems put in place are working, ensuring social distancing is being adhered to and sharing good practice across all the branches.

Our Council Leader and Cabinet Member for Strategic Leadership, Tourism and Culture Councillor Barry Lewis said:

“We’re pleased to say that the re-opening of our libraries is going well and customers are now familiar with the new temporary systems we’ve put in place, which are there to ensure staff and customers are safe and to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. It continues to be our aim to get all 45 libraries re-opened as soon as it is safe to do so.”

While constantly under review, it is currently not possible to:

  • visit a library without an appointment
  • return books or other items unless attending a Book and Borrow appointment
  • browse the shelves (this will change at selected libraries from 10 August)
  • take part in reader groups or other activities
  • use meeting rooms
  • request specific items/books
  • use the toilets and baby changing facilities
  • read newspapers in the library
  • make donations, including to the food bank

Contact your local library.

The Home Library Service will re-start a reduced service from Monday 3 August 2020, and a plan to re-start the mobile library service is currently being worked on.