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Re-opening Southampton libraries

Southampton City Libraries are looking forward to welcoming back customers from Monday 6 July 2020, with a phased reopening of services beginning with a select and collect service.

Our priority will be staff and customer safety and as such the service offered will be limited; residents will be able to return items and borrow those that they have reserved ahead of visiting.

All Council operated libraries will initially be open for limited hours. Libraries operated by our community partners are being fully supported by the city council and we are working with them to reopen at their own pace.

In line with government guidance, the number of customers allowed in a library at any one time will need to be reduced to help people stay safe and maintain social distancing. Hand sanitising, personal protective equipment, and additional cleaning measures will also be in place alongside queue management that you may have experienced elsewhere.

To help colleagues work safely, customers will also be asked to ensure they bring their library card with them to use the self-service machines to issue and return their items.

Library browsing, public computers, printing facilities, public toilets and other supplementary services will be temporarily unavailable, but this will be reviewed frequently so that they can be offered again as soon as it is safe to do so. We also ask that children under 12 are accompanied by an adult.

Customers will be able to reserve items online or via telephone on 023 8083 3007. Items will be prepared for collection and made available on dedicated shelves.

All 6 Council run libraries are accepting returns via collection bins located outside, though operating hours for this vary dependant on each library. No overdue fees will be charged until 6 September 2020.

During lockdown, our staff have continued to work behind the scenes operating a telephone befriending service and delivering reading materials to some of our more vulnerable residents. We have grown our online offer including access to eBooks and eAudiobooks, family and local history, craft activities and online story and rhyme times which have been welcomed by many of our users.

In the coming months many of the events that would normally take place physically in our libraries will continue to be offered digitally. To ensure you don’t miss out, make sure to follow us on social media, @SouthamptonCityLibraries on Facebook and @SotonLibraries on Twitter.

Councillor Satvir Kaur, Cabinet Member for Homes, Communities and Culture, said:  

“Libraries play a such an important part within our local communities. While we have continued an online and home delivery service during lockdown, we know it’s not the same. I’m thrilled we are looking at reopening our library service in a phased way, starting with select and collect. We are also working closely with our community led libraries on their recovery plans. We hope to slowly return our libraries into the community hubs they are known for, while keeping to public health guidance and prioritising the safety of our staff, volunteers and users.”

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