Libraries across the county closed in March as the lockdown began to combat the spread of Covid-19. Following the relaxation of restrictions, libraries are reopening in stages, putting the safety of customers, staff and volunteers at the forefront all the way.
The 11 libraries managed by the County Council (Filey, Knaresborough, Harrogate, Malton, Northallerton, Pickering, Ripon, Selby, Scarborough, Skipton and Whitby) plus Richmond are operating an appointment only system. From 6 July, customers have been able to take advantage of a free Select and Collect service. They can call or email their local library to request the kind of books they like. A member of the library team will hand-pick a selection that meets the customer’s request, then contact the customer to arrange a convenient time for them to collect the books from the library entrance. As usual, books can be borrowed for up to three weeks.
Customers can also use a new “library takeaway” service, which offers specially selected book bundles to borrow. There will be a menu to choose from each week with something for all ages. Details will be on local library Facebook pages. People will be able to return books, but for now library buildings will not be open for any other services. Books will be quarantined when they are returned.
Further services will resume over the following weeks, starting with bookable access to libraries’ public computers. NYCC managed libraries at Scarborough, Harrogate, Malton, Whitby, Pickering, Filey and Skipton will be offering limited access to computers from Monday 13th July. Ripon, Selby, Northallerton, Knaresborough and Richmond will follow suit on the 20th July. Session times will be limited and computers will be situated to allow for 2m social distancing and cleaned between every use. Unfortunately, due to the need for social distancing, the library teams will not be able to offer computer support. Please contact a library to book a slot.
The Home Library Service is also restarting from the 13th July. Before lockdown, the library service was delivering books to over 1600 people across the County. All customers have been contacted by phone to make sure they still want to receive the service and volunteers are gearing up to start getting books out to them again. If anyone would like to be a new customer, they can find details of how to join at www.northyorks.gov.uk/home-library-service or call their local library.
It is hoped that a return to browsing, with social distancing in place, will resume by the end of July. Only when restrictions are eased sufficiently will libraries reopen their public toilets, desks and tables for public use and café areas.
North Yorkshire Library Service works in partnership with communities to deliver services. Some of the libraries that are under community management may open at different times, offering different services ,depending on local circumstances and availability of volunteers. Please contact your local library directly or check their Facebook page or website, where available, for local updates.
Initially, most County Council-managed libraries will open 10am to noon and 2pm to 4pm on their normal opening days, for Select and Collect and returns only. Community-managed libraries may be opening different hours, so please check with them before visiting.
Anyone who has items on loan from before lockdown does not need to hurry to return them. The loan period has been extended to 1 September, so no fines are accruing
All details of how the Select and Collect system will work and other updates can be found on the County Council’s website at www.northyorks.gov.uk/CovidLibraries and individual library Facebook pages. Alternatively, if people have any queries they can call their local library or the library helpline number, 01609 533878.