The phased reopening of Somerset’s libraries is continuing next week with a collection service introduced from even more buildings.
Library buildings in Frome, Yeovil, Minehead and Bridgwater will open for the order-and-collect service from Monday 13 July, with members able to choose up to 10 books for collection.
Councillor David Hall, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for Libraries, said:
“We are delighted to extend the phased re-opening of our libraries and staff have been busy ensuring that we minimise risk for staff and customers. Although browsing of shelves is not yet possible, we are continuing to develop our digital offer, with further investment in e-resources including books, audiobooks, magazines and newspapers, all available to download free of charge to library members.
“There are also over 150 videos for people to enjoy via the Somerset Libraries Facebook and website, including story-times, gardening and cooking tips and some engaging health and wellbeing videos.”
Customers can use a Reading Request form and receive a selection of hand-picked books, DVDs or talking books, based on the types of authors or genres that are of interest to them.
The order-and-collect service enables customers to request library books either by email, website or telephone, and the selection of books, talking books, and DVDs will be available for collection at a convenient time for people to pick up. No hire charges or overdue charges will be applied.
Internet access will be available in libraries that are open, but it will be primarily for users who don’t have home internet access and require essential services. Computers will need to be pre-booked and will be available for one-hour slots. Each computer and workstation will be thoroughly cleaned between bookings and there will be at least a 2m distance between desks.
Customers can return any items currently on loan to any libraries that are open, but customers are being encouraged not to make an unnecessary journey to do this. All current loans that would have been due back during the lockdown period have been extended to the end of August, and any overdue charges that customers might have incurred as a result of library closures due to COVID-19 have been waived. It is hoped that all Somerset libraries, with the possible exception of a few community-managed libraries, will be open again by mid-August.
The Somerset Mobile Library Service is also back on the road and the Home Library Service, delivered in partnership with the Royal Voluntary Service, has started to deliver books to people unable to leave their homes.
The Reading Request form for the order-and-collect service is available via the Somerset Libraries website (www.somersetlibraries.co.uk) or by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org. Somerset Libraries are also contactable by telephone on 0300 123 2224.
Full details of which libraries are re-opening, including their hours of opening and services available, can be found on the Somerset Libraries website and via their social media pages – search for Somerset Libraries UK on Facebook, @SomersetLib on Twitter and Somerset Libraries on Instagram.