Cheshire East Council is preparing to reopen its 16 libraries and library services – but only on a phased basis.
The first libraries will reopen from Monday 6 July with others to follow in three further stages. People wishing to use public computers or access the customer service points will have to book an appointment in advance, however.
Following the pandemic, strict deep cleaning and quarantining of books will become routine and the number of people allowed into a library will have to be limited. Opening hours will also be reduced to allow the extra precautionary measures to be carried out.
Newspapers and magazines will not be available for the foreseeable future and some seating areas and meeting spaces have been removed. Group activities cannot go ahead and meeting rooms for public gatherings will be closed.
Councillor Mick Warren, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for communities, said: “Our library services are going to look a lot different but, sadly – but social distancing and the safety of our library members and users, and our staff, is absolutely paramount.
“There is a required 72-hour quarantine period for books and with all the deep cleaning and other measures we need to take, this is bound to impact on the service and our ability to operate in the way that we are used to operating.
“I would like to thank the public and our staff for their understanding and continued support of our excellent library service.”
The first seven libraries will reopen on 6 July, followed by four more the following week and three more from 20 July. Owing to the difficulties in ensuring safe social distancing, Alderley, Edge, Prestbury and the mobile library service will follow later as conditions allow.
Customers with books to return can do so by depositing them in drop boxes outside the following library buildings: Alsager, Congleton, Macclesfield, Nantwich, Poynton and Wilmslow.
From Monday 6 July the following libraries will reopening on reduced hours:
Alsager, Congleton, Crewe, Macclesfield, Nantwich, Poynton and Wilmslow;
From Monday 13 July: Bollington, Handforth, Knutsford and Sandbach; and
From Monday 20 July: Disley, Holmes Chapel and Middlewich
Any overdue charges are suspended until 31 August, 2020.
To learn about how our libraries will reopen and operate visit the Cheshire East web site.
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