LiveWire, the community interest company managing Library services in Warrington on behalf of the Borough Council, has announced plans for reopening seven of its sites, in line with Government guidance.
All of LiveWire’s library sites have been closed since March 21st due to the current Coronavirus pandemic.
Following the recent Government announcement that libraries can reopen from July 4th, seven library sites across the borough will be reopening from Wednesday, July 8.
The libraries reopening are: Great Sankey, Orford Jubilee and Woolston Neighbourhood Hubs, Stockton Heath, Lymm and Warrington Museum and Library. Burtonwood Library is currently open for Post Office services only but library services will also resume there.
Customers should please note that the opening hours of the above libraries will be not be the same as pre-Covid-19, so please check the website for the new opening hours before visiting.
Culcheth, Birchwood, Padgate, Penketh and Westbrook libraries will remain closed at this time.
Reopening plans centre on the safety of customers and staff, and are aimed at giving customers the confidence to borrow books in a friendly, safe and hygienic manner.
The library service has seen a huge increase in the number of e-books borrowed during the closure period, and the focus on the digital offer will continue. Also being expanded is the Library at Home offer for vulnerable customers, and a new Order and Collect service.
Other key points to the plan for reopening libraries are:
· There will be no charges for overdue books and other items issued from 1st March.
· Items on loan have had their loan period extended until 30th September.
· Social distancing in all areas of the library to keep both customer and staff safe.
· Restrictions on the number of people accessing the library at any one time and the duration of visits will be limited.
· A contactless returns and issue process.
· New one-way systems around parts of library buildings will be in operation, with floor markings and directional signs.
· All returned books will be quarantined for 72 hours before being returned to the shelves for people to loan.
Emma Hutchinson, Managing Director of LiveWire, said: “We are absolutely delighted to announce that seven libraries across the borough will be reopening from Wednesday 8th July.
“We recognise the importance of libraries to our communities and the huge amount of work that has gone into raising the profile and developing these libraries over the past few years by both LiveWire staff, our partners Warrington Borough Council, the Friends groups and the wider community. This is why we have been working very hard to put in a place a range of measures that will allow us to reopen seven library sites across the borough in a safe manner for both customers and staff.
“We wanted to offer a physical library service in all parts of the borough – south, east, west and central Warrington – but to complement this will be our Library at Home and Order and Collect services, as well as our extremely popular digital offer.
“We are working closely with WBC commissioners to regularly review the ongoing re-opening of libraries and what is feasible in the coming months. If it becomes possible to open any further libraries sooner, particularly those furthest away from our Hub libraries, we will endeavour do so.
“I’d like to thank our customers for their patience and loyal support during the months we have been closed, as well as Warrington Borough Council and our partners for their continued support.”
Cllr Tony Higgins, Warrington Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for leisure and community, said: “Warrington’s libraries provide a vital resource for our communities and are more important than ever during these difficult times. It’s great news that we are now in a position to re-open a number of them.
“The safety of customers and staff is paramount, and we’re working closely with LiveWire, as we re-open sites across the borough, to ensure that we are able to provide safe, welcoming environments for all customers and staff.
“A great deal of work has taken place to ensure local people can visit the library with confidence, with a range of measures put in place, including more staff to manage social distancing, enhanced hygiene and a new system of quarantining books.
“Safety will be at the heart of everything we do, as we continue the work to re-open every library in the borough, as soon as possible.”
For more information on the reopening of libraries, plus a list of FAQs for customers, visit www.livewirewarrington.co.uk/news