Hertfordshire libraries reopen as lockdown restrictions ease
- Credit: David Hartnup - www.mepictureyou.com. Supplied by Herts County Council
Libraries across Hertfordshire have reopened in line with Step 2 of the government's COVID-19 roadmap out of lockdown.
Hertfordshire County Council welcomed customers back into 30 libraries from Monday, April 12, including the ones in Welwyn Garden City at Campus West, Hatfield town centre, the Oakmere Library in Potters Bar, and the Maltings in St Albans.
Also open again are libraries in Stevenage, Hitchin, Baldock, Letchworth, Harpenden, Radlett and Royston.
In addition to access for public computers, avid readers are once again able to make short visits to browse bookshelves to select their own books and magazines or try a pre-selected 'Grab & Go' themed pack.
Visitors are able to visit the library for up to 15 minutes to browse the bookshelves and to use the self-service kiosks for borrowing and returning items.
Michele Murphy, the county's acting head of libraries, said: “Visits to the library are an important part of daily life for many people and we are delighted to welcome customers back through the library doors.
"The service will look a little different for a while, but library staff have worked hard to ensure that a safe environment is maintained.
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"We have also prepared a great selection of Grab & Go packs for customers who have previously enjoyed the Ready Reads service during lockdown, or just want to try something a bit different.”
Social distancing measures are in place at reopened libraries, including queue management, screens on enquiry desks, hand sanitiser stations and quarantine areas for returned books.
Members of the public are required to provide their details for Test & Trace purposes and wear face coverings during their visit.
The People’s Network computers will continue to be available in one-hour slots for customers who have made a booking in advance.
There will be 15 minutes between bookings to allow for cleaning.
Customers are advised to visit www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/libraries or to download the library app to check for the opening times of their local library.
Hertfordshire archives reopens
Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies at County Hall, Hertford, will also be reopening for pre-booked reading room appointments from April 20.
The online booking system opened on Tuesday, April 13, and all visitors will need to book their visit and documents a week in advance.
Julie Gregson, head of heritage services, said: “We are really excited to be reopening to Hertfordshire residents again, albeit in a slightly different way for now.
"We will be reinstating our online booking system for reading room appointments in the first step towards resuming our full range of services.
“I am looking forward to seeing our visitors make full use of the fascinating collections that Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies has to offer once again.”
Appointments in either the archive reading room or local studies library last for two and half hours, and customers can order up to eight documents in advance.
Onsite services remain limited, with safety measures in place to ensure all visits remain COVID-secure.
Customers who would like advice about their research and help selecting relevant documents to order for their visit are encouraged to contact the enquiry team in advance of making a booking.
Visit www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/archives for more information about archive and heritage services available, and to book an appointment.
For up to date information on Hertfordshire County Council services, visit www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/serviceupdates.