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West Berkshire libraries to reopen next week

Limited opening hours for customers

John Herring

John Herring


01635 886633

 Newbury, Hungerford and Thatcham Libraries open from today

West Berkshire libraries will be reopening to the public next week. 

Customers will be able to choose and borrow books in person during limited opening hours at all West Berkshire libraries from Monday, September 21. 

An order and collect service was introduced as lockdown eased to allow customers to reserve books online and for customers to request the sort of books they like to read and staff choosing a selection for them.

The order and collect service will continue as the library service enables public access to all library buildings across the district.

Customers will not need to book a time to visit, but the number of people within each building will be limited and there may be a queue to get in.

Library staff will ask people to keep their visiting time to about 30 minutes and to use the hand sanitiser provided on entry and exit. Test and Trace contact details will be collected at the door.

Wearing face coverings is mandatory in public libraries and the libraries will not be accepting cash payments. 

Computers and printing/photocopying facilities will be available, but there will be fewer computers in order to ensure adequate social distancing.

Customers will be able to use a computer for one 45-minute session a day and do not need to book in advance. 

There will be no other seating or study areas available within the libraries and no access to toilets, baby changing facilities or refreshments.

Libraries operations manager at West Berkshire Council Felicity Harrison said: "I have been overwhelmed by the feedback from our order and collection service. We had a bunch of flowers delivered to Newbury library (yesterday) just to say thank you." 

She said that libraries would be opening with a combination of staff and volunteers, some of whom have been helping with the order and collection service, and will play a meet and greet role.

"I think the success will be managing customer expectations," she said. 

The council has said that the fines amnesty has also been extended and there will be no fines charged on items due for return between March 20 and September 30, 2020.

Follow WBerksLibraries on social media for all of the latest news, opening hours and service updates.

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