First of Camden’s libraries set to reopen from Monday 3 August
Pancras Square, West Hampstead and Queen’s Crescent Libraries are preparing to reopen with limited computer access from Monday 3 August. The plans are part of the Council’s phased approach to reopening following a comprehensive risk assessment process to protect both customers and library staff.
“I am delighted to announce that we will be reopening the first three of our libraries from Monday 3 August.
“We know how important our libraries are, and how they play a vital role in supporting our communities. That is why we are keen to reopen them all as soon as possible, but in a safe way that protects both visitors and our staff, ensuring our buildings are ‘COVID secure’ and residents are able to adhere to social distancing guidance.
“An important element of our approach to reopening is to address the ‘digital divide’ within some of Camden’s communities. This has increased during the Covid-19 crisis, meaning that some residents have been unable to access important online services, and the reintroduction of the library service will help address this.
“I would like to thank our residents for their continued patience and look forward to welcoming them back to Camden’s libraries soon.”
The council will open libraries in three phases, following Public Health England guidelines.
From Monday 3 August in the first phase, Pancras Square, West Hampstead and Queen’s Crescent libraries will open to give customers limited access to computers only. Initially all libraries will operate to amended opening hours,10.30am to 3.30pm, Monday to Saturday. Computers will be spaced to accommodate social distancing and safe working and will be cleaned between users. Front line library staff will also be provided with PPE.
This will be followed by a second phase from Monday 17 August when Holborn and Swiss Cottage libraries will also reopen, allowing customers to access book stock through a Read and Request’ service.
This is a type of click and collect approach, which enables books ordered online or on the phone to be picked up from a counter in the library. On return all books will then be quarantined for 72 hours before being available for reissue.
The council aims to open the remaining libraries in the third phase from the beginning of September 2020.
During the period of closure, the council has continued to offer access to its online digital library, as well as expanding the range of online events and resources available
The Home Library Service (HLS) has also delivered books to residents on the government’s shielded list, and over the summer the service will resume deliveries to its existing housebound customers with an aim to expand its offer to more people in the Borough.
Further updates on the reopening of libraries will be published online: https://www.camden.gov.uk/libraries-and-leisure