More libraries are due to reopen across Lancashire next week, giving people access to a range of valuable services and information once again.
Libraries at Bamber Bridge, Barrowford, Burnley, Burscough, Cleveleys, Halton, Haslingden, Kingsfold, Kirkham, Mellor and Sharoe Green will reopen from Wednesday 30 September.
And libraries at Earby, Ingol, Knott End, and Rishton will reopen from Thursday 1 October.
With many libraries already open, this will mean the vast majority of the county’s libraries are available again with measures in place to help prevent the spread of coronavirus after closing in response to the national lockdown earlier this year.
All libraries are operating the same opening hours as before, except that they will close for lunch from 1pm to 2pm. This does not apply if the library is opening later, for example 1pm-7pm. The only exception is The Harris in Preston which is open from 9am to 5pm Monday to Saturday.
Visitors can browse, borrow, photocopy and use computers without an appointment, but may have to queue before being able to enter as part of new social distancing arrangements, which limit the number of people allowed in at any one time.
The Six of the Best service, a selection of up to six books chosen by library staff, will still be available. These can be collected at the entrance of the library. People will need to speak with library staff, see the information on our libraries website, or call 0300 123 6703 between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday to arrange this service.
Public computers will also be available for 45 minute sessions starting on the hour, on a first come, first served basis. It may be possible to extend sessions upon request if nobody else is waiting.
Some of our libraries may also be able to make space available for people to sit and study, and make use of the free Wi-Fi. Please ask your local library for details as arrangements vary depending upon the amount of space available.
The music and drama lending service available to subscribing groups, such as choirs, orchestras and drama societies is also available again, though limited to collections held by Lancashire libraries. Orders can be placed online, and sets can be returned to any library. Unfortunately the collection held at Lostock Hall isn’t currently available for browsing due to coronavirus restrictions.
County Councillor Peter Buckley, Lancashire County Council’s cabinet member for community and cultural services, said: “Our library service has been working very hard to put arrangements in place to allow them to reopen, and I’m very pleased that we’ll be able to welcome even more people back from next week.
“We’ve been taking a phased approach to reopening library buildings, as well as making more of the services they provide available again as we go.
“I’m grateful for everyone’s patience and understanding, and I’d ask everyone to keep an eye on our website and social media channels for news if their local library is one of the very few we’re still working to reopen.”