When are libraries open? When libraries in England are confirmed to reopen as eases lockdown rules ease

Various businesses and venues across England have begun preparing to reopen their doors to the public once again as lockdown restrictions ease – but what about libraries?
This is what you need to know about libraries reopening (Photo: Shutterstock)This is what you need to know about libraries reopening (Photo: Shutterstock)
This is what you need to know about libraries reopening (Photo: Shutterstock)

Libraries were closed around the country in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus back in March.

Here’s what the government has said about libraries being able to welcome back readers.

When will libraries reopen?

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In a speech issued on Tuesday 23 June, Prime Minister Boris Johnson stated that from 4 July, “most leisure facilities and tourist attractions will reopen if they can do so safely”, which includes “libraries, social clubs and community centres”.

So from 4 July, individual libraries were permitted to reopen their doors, as long as they can provide a Covid-19 secure environment to keep both staff and customers safe.

These precautions could include having social distancing markers placed on the floor for customers to follow, implementing a maximum capacity number of people inside at one time and installing perspex screens.

Can I use any library services online?

There are some library services that you can still access whilst the library itself is closed, with the government stating: “Digital library services and those where orders are taken electronically, by telephone or by post (for example no-contact Home Library Services) may continue.”

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Many libraries offer online services - you can find out more about what your library offers by signing up.

You can do this via the government website here.

What is the government doing to help libraries?

Earlier in May, the government unveiled new ministerial-led task forces that have been created to help plan how closed sectors can reopen safely.

The announcement said: “These task forces will be crucial to the reopening of Britain's economy and each one will lead on developing new Covid-19 secure guidelines for the reopening of public places and businesses, where and when it is safe to do so.”

One of the task forces, managed by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, looks after libraries, as well as other recreation and leisure facilities.

Headed up by Oliver Dowden, the task force will help develop safe ways for libraries and other creative venues to operate, and feed back issues and concerns to the government.