New chapter for Torbay libraries after shutdown

Alex Kittow, chief executive of Libraries Unlimited

Alex Kittow, chief executive of Libraries Unlimited - Credit: Archant

Local libraries are due to re-open slowly but surely after the big shutdown.

Library buildings have been closed and mobile library and home library services suspended since March 23.

Alex Kittow, chief executive of Libraries Unlimited, which runs the library service, said: 'Our physical libraries may be closed but our staff have been working hard to adapt our service and deliver our library service online.

'Our team has been busy preparing so that we can safely welcome visitors back in a phased approach.'

The government has announced that libraries can start to reopen from Monday July 6

But Alex says: 'We are closely watching government plans and announcements as timings will be influenced by the R number (rate of infection) in order to ensure that this number is kept in line with the target. In line with this guidance we will adjust our plans accordingly.

'Staff, volunteer and customer safety is our main priority.'

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From Monday July 6 a limited service will be offered at four pilot libraries including Brixham locally. Other openings will be rolled out across the Bay and county in the following weeks.

Plans for mobile libraries and the home library service are yet to be announced.

Alex says: 'We will be operating on reduced opening hours and our phased plan will enable us to operate in a socially distanced way.

'All books and items returned to the library will undergo 72 hours quarantine before they are discharged from customer accounts and returned to the library shelves. We will be asking all customers to place returned items into a box at the library to keep them separate from books that are ready to be loaned.'

Alex said the book reservation service will not be available straight away.

He said: 'The reservation service will not be operating initially, instead a free of charge 'Choose and Collect' service will be available where customers can select books or request a selection of books, via email or telephone from their local library, ready for collection from the library entrance at a pre-arranged time.'

Current loans are being extended to the end of August.