With national lockdown restrictions now being eased we’re happy to announce Wokingham Borough libraries will begin to reopen from next Monday 3 August, starting with Wokingham and Woodley.
National libraries guidance sets out a roadmap of phased re-opening of library buildings and their services along with reduced opening hours and of course strict Covid-19 public health measures to ensure we can safely open and run the borough’s libraries for both public and staff.
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.
During the coming weeks we hope 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 we will have to introduce new ways of delivering these to keep everyone safe.
Hand sanitiser stations are in position at the entrances to Wokingham and Woodley for people to use as they enter and leave, and face coverings must be worn inside the buildings. One-way systems around the libraries have been introduced, and must be followed, and social distancing maintained at all times.
We urge people 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.
“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.
“Our library staff have been working hard behind the scenes to get Wokingham and Woodley ready for next Monday. We listened to your concerns in our libraries reopening survey about interaction with other people and library book cleanliness and the new Covid-19 measures we’re introducing reflect these. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. These new measures are there for your safety and to also give you confidence to once again access and enjoy what our libraries have to offer you.
“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.”
To find out about online services and events visit the libraries section on our website.