Library services in Longton, Meir and Tunstall have welcomed the return of customers to browse and borrow books in person again.

The service was temporarily suspended during the pandemic but has now resumed. The use of a public computer for up to one hour per day and access to a photocopier is also available.

The changes are part of a phased reopening of Stoke-on-Trent libraries. This follows the successful Click, Call and Collect service, which was launched in July to allow customers to order books online or over the phone – then collect during an allotted time.

Following the launch of Longton, Meir and Tunstall libraries’ new ‘open access’ service, there are a range of covid-secure measures in place so customers can use the sites safely. These include:  Library users must wear a face covering, Customers must use the hand sanitiser provided when they enter the building, Visitors will be asked to complete an NHS Test and Trace form, Sanitising equipment will be available for customers to use at computer stations, The number of computer stations will be reduced to maintain social distancing, A one-way system will be in place to help visitors keep a two-metre distance, All books returned to libraries will be quarantined for 72 hours before they are loaned again, For the time being, there will be no access to meeting rooms, study spaces, magazines, newspapers, CDs, DVDs or public toilets in libraries, Opening hours have been temporarily reduced to allow staff time for more cleaning.
The successful Click, Call and Collect service will continue for now at City Central, Stoke and Bentilee libraries.

Councillor Lorraine Beardmore, cabinet member for culture, leisure and public health at Stoke-on-Trent City Council, said: “We’re delighted to be able to welcome customers back to browse the shelves at three of our libraries. These sites are a really important resource for our communities and the number of people using them recently shows just how popular they are. Last month, we issued more than 8,000 items to customers across Stoke-on-Trent – and that was when only our homelink and click, call and collect services were running. Safety is our priority and, following the reopening at Tunstall, Longton and Meir, we’ve got lots of covid-secure measures in place for our visitors. Please can we ask all customers to wear a face covering, follow our social distancing inside the sites and use the hand sanitisers provided when they visit. We’re currently working on plans for open access at the other libraries and we’ll put out more information as soon as we can.”

Stoke-on-Trent libraries also have an array of online services available for customers to use at home – including the ability to download e-books, e-audiobooks and e-magazines. Residents can visit www.stoke.gov.uk/libraries to sign up online for a free membership. Plus visit the website for more information on visiting the libraries.

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