STAFFORDSHIRE libraries will extend their current opening hours and services next week as part of the phased reopening after lockdown.
From August 3 the 16 libraries directly managed by the county council will revert to their pre-lockdown standard opening hours, including weekends.
And from the same day each of those 16 libraries will have some PCs available to use, if booked in advance, while the ‘order and collect’ service remains in place for book borrowing.
Victoria Wilson, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet member responsible for Libraries, said: "It was always our intention to reopen libraries in a phased way, in line with the rest of society, and this is another step in the process.
"We know how much libraries mean to their communities and although this is not a return to normality it is part of the process.”
Hand sanitising, hygiene and social distancing arrangements are all in place and everyone entering a library is encouraged to wear a face covering.
PC use will be tightly monitored. One hour slots will have to be booked in advance, either by emailing the library direct or calling on 0300 111 8000, and there will be 30 minute intervals between bookings to allow for cleaning of equipment. Copying and printing will also be available from 3rd August without advance booking.
The 16 libraries directly managed by the county council are at Biddulph, Burntwood Burton, Cannock, Codsall, Leek, Lichfield, Kidsgrove, Newcastle, Perton, Rugeley, Stafford, Stone, Tamworth, Uttoxeter and Wombourne.
Staffordshire’s Community Managed Libraries have also begun reopening at their own pace and users should check for the latest information here .
Coun Wilson added: "The strategy has been to allow the county council-managed libraries to reopen first and then share any lessons learned with the community managed ones.
"The community managed libraries do a wonderful job and we are supporting them closely as they reopen their doors.”
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’.