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Cumbria County Council’s branch libraries set to re-open next month

Keeping everyone safe and well during this difficult time is Cumbria County Council’s priority and as such we recognise that Cumbria Libraries offer a vital service to many people and to their local communities.

With new and ever-changing national restrictions it is more important than ever to occupy our minds and have access to local support and services. Our libraries are key to this, particularly in some of our more rural and isolated areas, where branch libraries play a crucial role in the community.

Thanks to careful planning and investment by Cumbria County Council, a selection of our branch libraries will provide a COVID-safe environment where there really is ‘something for everyone’ – reopening to customers on Wednesday 21 October.

This follows the reopening of the county council’s six main libraries (Carlisle, Penrith, Workington, Whitehaven, Kendal, Barrow) in August, and now after careful preparation plans are in place to reopen an additional 12 branch libraries across the county on Wednesday 21 October.

These are:

  • Brampton Library
  • Longtown Library
  • Roose Library
  • Maryport Library
  • Wigton Library
  • Millom Library
  • Cleator Moor Library
  • Appleby Library
  • Grange Library
  • Ulverston Library
  • Windermere Library
  • Ambleside Library

Cllr Deborah Earl, Cabinet Member for Public Health and Local Communities, said: “We know how much people value our library services and we continue to work hard towards reopening 12 of our branch libraries next month, alongside the new offers available, such as Select & Collect, Online story-times and an easy book drop/return service.

“We also recognise that for some, they still need that face to face interaction but want this to be in a safe and secure environment. We have worked hard to ensure that all of our libraries are COVID-safe, with the highest standards of hygiene and customer care. We have committed significant investment and made extensive alterations to ensure the safety of our staff and customers.

“We feel that at the current time, the support and wellbeing of our communities is key – libraries have a key role to play – and this is why we have made the decision to open a selection of local branch libraries for the benefit of our customers.

“The county council’s Public Health experts have also confirmed that our libraries are extremely low risk environments and that the council has carried out all the necessary work to make them COVID safe spaces.”

To protect the health and safety of library staff and customers, new Covid-secure measures are in place at all our libraries that are open to staff and / or the public.

Key changes include:

  • Hand sanitiser stations are located at entrances and exits and customers are advised to use them.
  • Signage and floor markings are in place to promote 2 metres social distancing and to help people find their way around safely.
  • Customers are required to wear face coverings unless an exemption applies and library staff will be wearing Personal Protective Equipment.
  • Access to each library and its computers will be limited at first to allow library staff to safely manage the number of visitors.
  • Toilets and baby-changing facilities are temporarily closed to the public.
  • Fines incurred during our temporary closure will be waived until 31st December, so customers don’t have to worry about returning overdue items immediately.
  • Any returned books, including those borrowed before lockdown, will be quarantined for 72 hours before going back into circulation.

More information about our plans to reopen some of our branch libraries can be found online or at cumbria.gov.uk/libraries.

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