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Libraries NI Announces Pilot Scheme to begin Reopening Libraries

Libraries NI is pleased to announce that, as part of the pilot scheme for reopening libraries, 90 libraries will start to provide customers with a Book and Collect service from Monday 20 July. The Book and Collect service will enable library members to phone their local library to request a selection of books and arrange contactless collection and will remain in place until such time as their library reopens. 


As part of the pilot, five libraries will reopen to allow customers access to the branch for book browsing and limited access to IT, with Omagh and Lisburn City libraries reopening on Tuesday 21 July and Bangor CarnegieDerry Central and Belfast Central libraries reopening on Thursday 23 July. These five libraries are the first phase of a larger pilot to test our new approach to service delivery which will aim to keep customers and staff safe whilst also learning lessons to facilitate the smooth reopening of other local libraries as soon as possible. 

As a guide for both staff and customers, a customer charter has been developed to help everyone understand the new operational measures that will be in place for their safety. In order to maintain social distancing, there will be controls on the number of people allowed in libraries at any one time and customers will be asked to limit themselves to 30 minutes browsing and/or 30 minutes’ computer use initially. Toilet facilities will be closed during the pilot phase and printing or photocopying will also be unavailable. As public health guidance changes, this preliminary service offering will be reviewed. 

In a similar approach to safety, as customers will see elsewhere, staff will be equipped with relevant PPE, screens will be installed at customer desks, hand sanitiser will be available for all customers entering the library and a high level of cleaning will take place throughout each of the libraries. Returned books will also be stored for a period in each library before being returned to the shelves. 

For the reopening pilot to be a success staff and customers need to work together. Customers are asked to follow guidance, maintain social distancing while inside each library and to please stay at home if they have any coronavirus like symptoms. To facilitate these new services and to help us prepare for reopening, customers are encouraged to return books to all libraries from Monday 6 July. 

Revised, temporary hours for each of the five libraries reopening, times available to return books to each library and operational hours for the new Book and Collect service are detailed on our website - see links below.

Return of Books ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​