READING Council is working to reopen its branch libraries, following the successful return of Central Library via a click & collect service in late July.
Working in line with current national safety guidance, the Council will look to manage the second planned phase of reopening of wider library services where possible and with safety at the forefront of all its plans.
The aim is to reopen three of the library service’s 6 branch libraries before the end of the year.
The Phase 2 plan includes:
- Reopening Caversham library branch in October – for limited booked sessions initially and with a reduced service;
- Reopening Tilehurst and Battle Library in late November/early December (also with a reduced service).
The reopening of further branches will be reviewed following the opening of these branches and will hopefully happen in the New Year. Exact timings for all openings will be subject to staffing and updated guidance. Exact dates will be confirmed nearer the time.
There will also be further enhancements during October at Central Library, including:
- The reintroduction of browsing (initially by booked appointment)
- The introduction of a new customer app that allows library users to self-issue books (rather than using the issue machines).
Central library customers will also see changes in how services are laid out, with the main entrance and exit returning via the front doors rather than the back of the library (except visa appointments).
For the latest information and updates, visit: www.reading.gov.uk/libraryrestart
Borrowed items are not due back until all branches are open but the Central Library book drop is currently available and no fines are being charged.
Reading Library’s popular e-service continues to be available. The virtual Reading Library www.reading.gov.uk/elibrary boasts a huge range of instant access to free online resources, including eBooks, eMagazines and eAudio. New library members can register instantly online at www.reading.gov.uk/libraries and there are lots free online learning resources at www.reading.gov.uk/online-learning
Cllr Karen Rowland, Reading’s lead councillor for Culture, Heritage and Recreation, said: “I am delighted we are now in a position to announce the upcoming return of three of our Reading Library branches. Following on from the successful reopening of Central Library, we are confident we can begin to reintroduce our library service elsewhere. It is also great news that pre-booked browsing will soon be available at Central Library.
“I’m sure our residents in Caversham, Tilehurst and West Reading will be eagerly anticipating the return of their local branches.
“As ever, with the reopening of our branches the safety of the public and our staff remains our top priority and so these services will initially look very different to before the pandemic. We need to be absolutely confident every preventative measure against the virus has been carefully thought out and implemented, to prevent any local resurgence originating at these locations.
“Don’t forget to please make a booking ahead of visiting Central Library at www.reading.gov.uk/libraryrestart or by calling 0118 937 5950 to avoid disappointment. You can also take advantage of our new library app – download today as a quick and easy way to check out your books – find out more on the library webpages.
“If you haven’t already, don’t forget to check out the library’s online offering at www.reading.gov.uk/elibrary – the library is constantly curating and recommending new material and research pertinent to current issues. It also has very lively social media channels that are very worthy of following.”