Visiting a library during coronavirus

From Saturday 8 August, you will need to wear a face covering when visiting a library unless you have a legitimate reason not to wear one. View the government's exceptions for wearing a face covering.

Where possible we ask that you do not bring anyone with you if you are visiting a library. You should not visit if you feel unwell or are self-isolating.

We have installed safety measures in every library, this includes:

  • instruction around social distancing measures
  • hand sanitisation stations
  • signs to manage the flow of customers
  • limiting the number of customers inside the building at any one time

To see what has changed, watch our customer safety measures video and children's safety measures video.

Social distancing, furniture and layout

Social distancing is required in all our libraries. Each library has completed a review of their layout to make sure customers and staff can move around safely. We ask that you keep browsing time to a minimum where possible.

Some of our doors may be entrance or exits only, these will be clearly marked. You may be asked to queue outside a library to prevent overcrowding. We will use signage and floor stickers to indicate where to stand.

Checking out library items

Where possible, use the self-service station when checking out an item. We have fitted all our library counters with screens if you cannot self-serve.

Use card payments where possible if you need to make a payment.

Returning books

We will quarantine all library items before they go back out on our shelves. These loans will still show on your library account until the end of quarantine but you will not be charged a fine for these days.

Using public computers

Time will be limited on our public computers and wifi. We will be providing cleaning materials to keep these spaces and equipment sanitised.

The number of public computers has been reduced to ensure social distancing. During busy times you may need to wait for a computer to become available. Talk to staff locally if you need to book ahead.

Scanning, printing and photocopying facilities are still available.

Support with council services

You can ask for information at library counters or use a telephone if you need to speak to a council department.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Our staff may be wearing face protection at library counters and around the library building.

NHS Test and Trace

As part of NHS Test and Trace system we will ask for your contact details and record the time that you enter and leave the library.

This record will be kept for 21 days and then deleted. This action may help fight the virus.

Changes to facilities and services

Our public toilets will remain closed and seating and study areas within libraries will not be in use. This includes children’s areas and meeting rooms. Newspapers and magazines will also be unavailable.

As our usual library events are not running, we are planning to host some live digital events.

We cannot accept any book donations. We are also not running our usual book sales or selling any items we would normally sell, for example reading glasses.

Our reservation service is now available at all libraries which have reopened to the public. We are not yet able to accept interlibrary loan requests, SELMS reservations or suggestions for purchase.

We will continue to review these measures and opening hours in line with government advice. We hope to reintroduce more facilities and services in the future when it is safe to do so.

Overdue fines

Since March no fines have been charged for any library items borrowed during 2020 that were returned after their due date. This will come to an end on 30 September 2020, so please ensure that you return or renew your loans before then to avoid incurring charges.