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In light of the Northern Ireland Executive’s recent announcement, Libraries NI is looking forward to reopening libraries and reconnecting with customers in a phased programme of return. Plans are now in place to reopen libraries from 20 July onwards.
As part of a pilot approach and in adherence to government guidelines, a number of libraries will reopen at various stages to offer customers a reduced service focused on book borrowing and controlled IT access. Throughout the pilot, customer and staff safety will remain as a priority and the new approach will deliver a blend of online and in library services.
As part of the programme for reopening branches, Libraries NI will provide a new Book and Collect service which will begin on Monday 20 July and will remain in operation until a branch reopens. This new service will allow customers to phone their local library to both request a selection of books and then arrange a contactless collection. In order to trial this service, Book and Collect will be available initially in Dungannon, Larne, Banbridge and Warrenpoint libraries from Monday 6 July.
To facilitate this new service, Libraries NI is asking customers to return borrowed books to their local library, if possible, from the week beginning 6 July onwards. Dates and times for individual branch book returns will be posted on the website in advance. This will help to prepare books before they are returned to the shelves. During this period, Libraries NI will continue to renew books for customers who are unable to return books for whatever reason. The details for order times, returns and collections for each branch will be on the Libraries NI website www.librariesni.org.uk.
Libraries NI Chief Executive Jim O’Hagan said:
“A significant number of customers have joined during lockdown to use our online services. However, I am looking forward to reopening libraries and this will happen in phases during which time services will be delivered differently. I would ask our customers to please bear with us as we all adapt to a new normal.
“In the meantime, thank you all for your patience and we will continue to keep you updated via the media, our website and social media channels. Please remember you can continue to download eBooks, audiobooks, eMagazines and eNewspapers from our website or visit our YouTube channel for regular storytelling, Rhythm and Rhyme and craft sessions for children (and adults) and above all please stay safe.”
For further information and to keep up to date with reopening developments please visit www.librariesni.org.uk.