Last week the council started a phased re-opening of library services in line with the government’s latest health and safety guidelines.
The council’s nine major libraries; Cambridge Central, Huntingdon, St Ives, St Neots, Bar Hill, Cambourne, Ely, March, Wisbech are now open to the public – for opening times visit here.
To help people access the books they want, the council has introduced a new service called ‘Select and Collect’. Customers can choose titles according to their preferences (e.g. genre, fiction, non-fiction, talking books, children’s books etc.) and then collect them from any of the open libraries.
More than 240 Select and Collect orders were made during the first week of re-opening, along with 437 reservations and a steady number of orders continuing.
To help maintain a safe environment inside and out of library buildings, a number of service changes have been made. Customers are required to maintain social distancing whilst in queues outside entrances and once inside, must stick within guided floor markings.
Ordered books are handed over at designated collection points and customers cannot browse titles on the shelves.
Councillor Steve Criswell, Chair of the Communities and Partnerships Committee, paid a visit to Huntingdon Library yesterday to see the new service in operation. He said: “It’s fantastic to see our libraries up and running again and I would like to thank our team for their phenomenal efforts. We’ve already had positive feedback from customers, for example one lady in Cambridge came into the library to complete an online application form – something she couldn’t do anywhere else.
“Obviously things can’t return to normal just yet, so we ask customers to please bear with us and continue to social distance when visiting libraries.”
The council plans to open all remaining libraries from 3 August for two days per week and will continue to review the situation.
Library meeting rooms will remain closed and events and activities will not resume until it is safe to do so. Mobile library services will also remain closed until further notice.
Public access IT facilities are available by appointment only, with a limit of one 45 minute appointment per day per customers.