Great news that Wokingham Borough libraries will begin to reopen from today, starting with Wokingham and Woodley.
Wokingham Library will be open Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 1.30pm, and Woodley Library, also weekdays, 9am to 1pm. They will be open purely for returning and borrowing books with other services such as public computer use, study space, and newspaper and magazine browsing not available.
“Libraries are such rich and vibrant community focal points so their closure these past few months has been sorely felt by everyone,” said Cllr Parry Batth, executive member for environment and leisure and Conservative Brough Councillor for Shinfield North.
“Our library staff have been working hard behind the scenes to get ready for today. Thank you to all who shared their concerns in our libraries reopening survey about interaction with other people and library book cleanliness. The new Covid-19 measures we’re introducing reflect these. These new measures are there for your safety and to give you confidence to enjoy what our libraries have to offer.
“Remember, of course, you can still use our online services for e-books and audio, and search our catalogue although this will always lag by 72 hours until returned items go back on the shelves. And many events and groups that moved online during lockdown are still happening there.”
During the coming weeks Wokingham Borough Council hopes to open more branches and increase opening hours. The reinstatement of other library services will be guided by safety management and public demand but it could be that new ways of delivering these are introduced to keep everyone safe.
Boris Johnson has stressed the importance of being mindful always of Hands - Face - Space
- Hand sanitisers for people to use as they enter and leave a library
- Face coverings must be worn inside
- One-way systems around the libraries must be followed
- Social distancing maintained at all times.
Library users are urged to minimise handling of books while browsing. If a book is touched, but not booked out, it must be taken to the returned books area where it will be put into quarantine for 72 hours before it can be returned to the shelves.
All books being returned to the libraries will need to be quarantined in this way. There are currently 37,000 books and other items out on loan but as overdue charges are currently suspended there is no need to rush to return books straight away.