Following the next phase in the government’s roadmap, which will see some businesses and facilities reopen from Monday (April 12), Durham County Council is reintroducing its in-library browsing and computer services at 37 of its libraries.
From Monday, residents will be available to visit and access services at Newton Aycliffe library, as well as the following venues: Barnard Castle; Wolsingham; Chester-le-Street; Consett; Stanley; Crook; Peterlee; Seaham; Easington; Woodhouse Close and Bishop Auckland Town Hall in Bishop Auckland; Sedgefield; Shildon; Spennymoor; Thornley and Belmont, Clayport and Newton Hall, in Durham, as well as Bowburn; Blackhall; Brandon; Chilton; Cornforth; Lanchester; Langley Park; Murton; Trimdon, Wingate, Annfield Plain, Ferryhill, Willington, Horden, Pelton, Sacriston, Shotton and South Moor.
Although not all library services will resume, the following services will be available:
• In-library browsing (limited to 20 minutes if maximum capacity or queues forming outside)
• Computer access (limited to 45 minutes)
• Self-service photocopying / printing
• Study tables at town centre libraries
• Express local studies at Clayport
• Reference books on request at Clayport library
• Reference enquiry service via telephone or email from Clayport library
• Book request service
• Inter library loans
• Doorstep book drops
• Local studies loan collection at Clayport library
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, while libraries reopen the following services will be unavailable:
• Cash handling – any charges for copying and printing will be added to customer library account to pay later
• Easy seating
• Meeting rooms for hire
• Events or activities
• Books on Wheels
• Mobile Library
• Book Bus
• Direct access to the first floor at Clayport library
Library users will still be able to access online services and the digital offer is being extended to include more eBooks, eMagazines and eAudiobooks titles and free access to the family history research tool Ancestry.
There will be no late returns fines or request fees, and the Doorstep Book Delivery service will continue.
The community libraries at Esh Winning and Coundon are not scheduled to reopen at this time as they are housed with a primary school and a medical practice.
To ensure the safety of both partner operations and library customers during the coronavirus pandemic, the reopening of these libraries will be delayed until it is safe to do so.
Library opening hours will be different at each library and will not be in line with their former opening hours. Residents are encouraged to check any changes in opening times before visiting.
Alison Clark, Durham County Council’s head of culture, sport and tourism, said: “With the changes to restrictions from 12 April, we are preparing to reopen the majority of our county’s libraries for residents and with it make a large number of our in-person services available.
“We will also continue to provide online services, with an extended digital offer, and the Doorstep Book Delivery service.
“We are looking forward to welcoming residents back to our libraries where they will be able to safely enjoy its facilities.”
Anyone can become a member of the library service by visiting Library Online or calling one of the libraries that are reopening.
For more information, including contact details for participating libraries, or to become a member of the library service, call 03000 260 000 or visit durham.gov.uk/libraries.