When will libraries reopen in Suffolk?
PUBLISHED: 12:36 02 July 2020 | UPDATED: 12:36 02 July 2020
They provide lifelines for young and old, with children’s events and social activities on top of lending books, CDs and DVDs. But when will Suffolk’s libraries finally reopen after the Covid-19 lockdown?
Libraries were forced to close as part of the coronavirus lockdown in March, to prevent the spread of the illness.
But with the rules being relaxed in recent weeks, Suffolk’s libraries will begin to reopen from the week beginning Monday, July 6.
However, there will be restrictions in place, such as on browsing books - with all visitors advised to wear face coverings.
When will my library open?
Libraries in Suffolk are due to reopen on the following dates:
■ Monday, July 6 - Aldeburgh, Beccles, Broomhill, Bury St Edmunds, Felixstowe, Framlingham, Gainsborough, Ipswich County, Ixworth, Stradbroke, Sudbury and Woodbridge.
■ Tuesday, July 7 - Capel St Mary, Clare, Debenham, Elmswell, Eye, Glemsford, Hadleigh, Haverhill, Kedington, Kesgrave, Kessingland, Leiston, Long Melford, Lowestoft, Mildenhall, Needham Market, Newmarket, Oulton Broad, Rosehill, Southwold, Stowmarket and Thurston.
■ Wednesday, July 8 - Halesworth
■ Thursday, July 9 – Lavenham
■ Monday, July 13 – Chantry
■ Tuesday, July 14 – Brandon, Bungay, Stoke and Lakenheath
■ Tuesday, July 21- Wickham Market
Great Cornard and Saxmundham libraries will remain closed for the time being, as will the two Suffolk Libraries local sessions at Rushmere and Shotley.
However, the mobile library service will be returning the same week, with certain safety procedures in place to protect customers and staff.
How will libraries be different?
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Initially, the government has advised against allowing customers to browse books and other items.
When libraries reopen, Suffolk Libraries will therefore be implementing a new ‘select and collect’ service and customers will not be able to browse or choose books in the library.
People will be asked to call or email in advance to request items which they can then pick up from the library.
Most libraries will also be opening for reduced hours and there will be screens at enquiry desks, as well as hand sanitisers. People will also be asked to keep a safe distance from others at all times.
Suffolk Libraries said it would also recommend that customers wear a face covering when visiting if possible. It will be asking staff to do the same.
The following temporary changes to services will also be in place:
Customers can only borrow 10 items at a time (not 20) but can keep them for an extended period of up to 4 weeks.
■ Borrowing DVDs and CDS will be free until further notice
■ Overdue charges will remain suspended throughout July and August.
■ Return dates for loans taken out prior to lockdown will be extended to 31 August.
■ Access to computers, printing and photocopying will be unavailable during July.
■ Reservations will also be unavailable during July but we hope to reintroduce them as soon as possible.
■ Room hire and activities will remain suspended for the time being.
Bruce Leeke, chief executive of Suffolk Libraries, said: “We are excited about reopening libraries again and I hope customers will understand that we’ve had to introduce some changes to ensure that this can be done safely.
“The wellbeing and safety of our staff and customers is always our number one priority. We will review the situation over the coming weeks and reintroduce services and activities when it’s safe to do so.
“Everyone at Suffolk Libraries really appreciates the support and patience of our customers during this difficult time.
“We’re all getting used to a new normal but I’m confident that Suffolk Libraries has a big part to play in Suffolk communities.”
For up to date information, visit the Suffolk Libraries website.
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