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Public libraries in Telford and Wrekin re-opening under social distancing conditions

By Deborah Hardiman | Telford | Coronavirus | Published:

Some public libraries in Telford and Wrekin will re-opening from this weekend under social distancing conditions.

Southwater Library

Southwater Library will be the first to throw open the doors between 11am and 2pm on Saturday(4).

Others in Newport, Wellington and Oakengates will re-open on Monday morning.

All will operate during reduced hours and a reduced service as lockdown eases.

During the initial phase of opening customers will only be able to return, browse and borrow books within a 15-minutes time frame per visit, to ensure that everyone has a chance to access the service.

Madeley Library based inside the Anstice centre will re-open at a later date, when the community building re-opens for business.

Dawley, Donnington, Hadley Learning Community and Stirchley are also due to re-open under similar measures and residents must contact these libraries directly regarding opening hours.

Telford & Wrekin leisure boss Councillor Eileen Callear said: “It’s due to our staff’s hard work and the safety and distancing measures they’ve put in place that Council libraries are able to re-open as early as indicated by the government."

“The safety of our staff and library users is our top priority, which means in the initial phase of re-opening, Telford & Wrekin Libraries will be operating in a different way – with a reduced service.

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"Only books return and borrowing within a recommended 15 minutes visit, limited capacity in buildings, additional cleaning measures and guidelines and signage in place for social distancing.

“In the upcoming weeks, there’s still lots the libraries’ teams will be working through, so as to re-open additional services in locations as quickly but most importantly, as safety as possible - in line with Government’s directions.

“As we want to support people as much as possible at this difficult time, we will continue to offer free library digital resources for everyone that can be accessed at any time from the comfort of their home.

“On www.telford.gov.uk/libraries there are lots of free resources for every age and interest, from e-books to audio books and e-magazines and the access of digital resources has more than doubled since lockdown.

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“Also on Telford & Wrekin Libraries Facebook page there’s plenty going on, such as live streams of 'Bounce and Rhyme' toddler sessions, coding club challenges as well as family-fun entertainment, with the recently launched Summer Reading challenge.”

  • Modified service – libraries will only be open for customers to return, browse and borrow books.
  • The use of public computers, printing, photocopying and all council First Point services, except access to free phones, will not be available during the initial opening phase.
  • There will be reduced capacity within library buildings to ensure there is enough space for everyone in the library to social distance. This will mean active queue management and a limited number of people who will be allowed to enter a council library location at one time.
  • Use hand sanitiser units at the entrances before entering.
  • Soft furniture, chairs and desks will be removed from libraries and there will be no study space available during the initial opening phase. All play equipment in libraries will either be removed or out of bounds.

For more details visit www.telford.gov.uk/libraries

Deborah Hardiman

By Deborah Hardiman
@Deborahh_Star

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star based out of the head office in Ketley. Covering the Telford area.

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