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Staffordshire Libraries to Reopen

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by Tony Collins (subscribe)
I am a freelance writer specialising mainly in health and education and living in Staffordshire. Find me on Linked In
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There is good news in Staffordshire for people who have run out of books to read during the last three months of lockdown. The counties 43 libraries are to begin a phased reopening from Monday 6th July following the easing of lockdown restrictions. The libraries in Burton-upon-Trent, Newcastle-under-Lyme and Stafford will open their doors to avid bookworms first, on July 6, with the other 13 libraries managed directly by Staffordshire County Council following two and three weeks later, on the 20th and 27th July. The remaining 27 Community Managed Libraries are being encouraged to reopen at their own pace. Meeting rooms will remain closed and there will be no access to toilets, PCs, printers, photocopiers, or bus pass renewals in person. Although there will be no physical events or activities in the buildings, the service's online service and highly successful social media engagement will continue.

Gill Heath, Staffordshire Libraries
Gill Heath prepares to welcome borrowers back to Staffordshire's libraries

Gill Heath, Staffordshire County Council's Cabinet member responsible for libraries, said: "This is not a return to normality, but a welcome step towards it as we begin to carefully reopen much-loved library buildings. Hand sanitising, hygiene and social distancing arrangements will all be in place and if Personal Protective Equipment is necessary it will be distributed to staff and volunteers where appropriate. We will be running an 'order and collect' service to start with so no browsing - and there will be limited numbers of visitors allowed in at any one time." She added: "We need to go about this carefully to ensure users, volunteers and staff are safe and people will need to use common sense and observe the spirit of social distancing when they visit. We are opening three larger libraries first to see how all the safety measures work in practise before incorporating any lessons into the gradual opening of the remainder."

Lichfield Library
The new home of Lichfield Library in a former church

Cannock, Leek, Lichfield, Perton and Tamworth libraries will open on Monday 20th July, with Biddulph, Burntwood, Codsall, Kidsgrove, Rugeley, Stone, Uttoxeter and Wombourne scheduled for Monday 27th July. All libraries will initially open 10am to 4pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 1pm on Saturday. Staffordshire libraries already have a 'home delivery' service for those unable to visit and that is being extended to include those who are currently isolating and prefer physical books to the council's online service 'Borrowbox'. People can check reopening times for different libraries and for extra information here.
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Why? Avid book readers get ready to welcome return of libraries
When: July 6 to 27
Cost: Free
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