The service allows people to use an online request form to receive a selection of up to 10 books, DVDs or Talking Books which staff pick out for customers, based on the types of authors or genres that are of interest to them.
The service now operates from Taunton, Frome, Yeovil, Minehead and Bridgwater libraries. From the 27 July, this will be extended to Wells, Dulverton and Ilminster and from the 3rd August, Burnham-on-Sea, Williton, Wincanton and Shepton Mallet will also be happy to welcome customers to hand them the pre-ordered selection of books. South Petherton Community Library will be doing the same from the 4th August.
Somerset residents have also been making use of the popular public computers which are also available in libraries that are open. Computers need to be pre-booked and are available for one-hour slots, with time built in for cleaning.
Councillor David Hall, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for Libraries, said: “We are delighted that so many people have been enjoying our new order-and-collect service and coming into libraries to use the computers. Although browsing of shelves is not yet possible, we have had some encouraging feedback from people making use of our many online services, including books, audiobooks, magazines and newspapers, all available to download free of charge to library members.
“The videos that staff have been busy making are also proving a real hit, with thousands of engagements on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and this is something we will be continuing to develop, even as the lockdown eases”
The mobile library will also be back on the road from Tuesday 21st July and details of where and when the stops are can be found on the Somerset Libraries website pages.
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 order-and collect request form 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.