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County libraries to roll out reopening with safety a priority

Published: 2 July 2020

Some libraries across Derbyshire are to begin reopening from next week with several temporary changes in place to keep customers and staff safe.

We closed all of our 45 libraries on 20 March 2020 due to the coronavirus.

We now plan to reopen 7 libraries initially, with 3 opening on Monday 6 July 2020, followed by one on Tuesday, one on Wednesday and 2 on Thursday.

Residents must book an appointment to visit their library if it is one of the 7 set to reopen first, and people are being urged not to turn up without having arranged their appointment first.

The libraries to reopen throughout the week are:

  • Heanor, Matlock, Swadlincote (Monday 6 July)
  • Dronfield (Tuesday 7 July)
  • Chesterfield (Wednesday 8 July)
  • Buxton, Long Eaton (Thursday 9 July)

From their opening date, all 7 will then be open from 10am to 4pm Monday to Friday, and 10am to 2pm on Saturdays until further notice, with people being asked to arrange appointments direct with their local library.

'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 them back unless they have made a Book and Borrow appointment. No overdue charges will be incurred for books which are currently borrowed.

Library staff will monitor how the new systems put in place are working and ensure social distancing can be adhered to before rolling out the re-opening of other libraries across the county. Our overall aim is to re-open all 45 libraries when it can be done safely.

Staff at Derbyshire Record Office in Matlock and Buxton Museum and Art Gallery are also working hard on plans to re-open the venues, and are hoping to be in a position to announce when they may open their doors shortly.

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

“We are delighted to be in a position where we can start to slowly reopen our libraries and take the first steps towards getting them back to being fully operational.

“The safety of our staff and customers is always our top priority, and we’ve been following government guidance closely, considering a range of options to get our libraries open in some form.

“Seven libraries will reopen next week and we will monitor each one very closely to make sure that the measures in place are sufficient to keep everyone safe while still being able to offer a service. It’s really important that people book an appointment to visit and don’t just turn up at the door.

“These are temporary measures and we are obviously working towards opening up the service further when we are sure it is safe to do so, with the overall aim being to reopen all 45.

“We know how important libraries are to people, and we’ve seen the number of library members rise by more than 1,100 during lockdown, with Derbyshire residents taking advantage of the excellent range of free services available online, from eBooks and eNewspapers to activities and research materials.

“I hope library users will bear with us and take advantage of the reopening of services, albeit limited to start with, and we will endeavour to reopen other parts of the service over the next few weeks.”

During the initial phase of reopenings, it will not be possible to:

  • visit without an appointment
  • return books or other items unless attending a book and borrow appointment
  • browse the shelves
  • 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

Find out more about the temporary new rules on borrowing books, and using computers in libraries.

Dates will shortly be announced for the second phase of library reopenings affecting the following libraries: Alfreton, Ashbourne, Belper, Bolsover, Glossop, Ilkeston and Ripley.

Information about the reopening of the Derbyshire Record Office and Buxton Museum and Art Gallery will also follow shortly. Details of the reopening of the remaining libraries will follow at a later date.

How book and borrow works

People should only contact the library they intend to use.

Customers will be asked to:

  • ring or email the reopened library they want to collect books from to make an appointment. They will be given a date and time for their collection slot. If they email they will be called back to arrange a collection slot.
  • provide the name and library card number for each person who wants to borrow books, plus a contact phone number.
  • give information on the type of books the person wants – genre, examples of authors, format, or they can opt for a ‘lucky dip’. There's a maximum of 10 items per person for each collection slot.
  • bring library card/s or card number/s for all the people they are collecting for, when visiting for their pre-booked slot
  • bring their own bags

It will not be possible for library staff to order books from other libraries during the temporary arrangements, and staff will only be able to provide items from their specific branch. This means that specific titles may not always be available.

All books will be issued to 30 September 2020.