Plans for re-opening Harlow Libraries to be reviewed next week

Plans for re-opening Essex Libraries to be reviewed next week

ESSEX County Council’s (ECC) Place Services and Economic Growth Policy and Scrutiny Committee will review plans to re-open Essex Libraries on Thursday 25 June.

Earlier this month, ECC announced plans to re-open 16 libraries* from 6 July, following temporary closure of the service in line with Government guidance around COVID-19. These initial sites were selected as they also provide Registration Services and therefore allow this important service to be more easily delivered too.

Plans for the second phase of re-opening would see an additional 44 libraries* also open from 20 July 2020.

Plans for the remaining 14 libraries* will be regularly reviewed to assess how it might be possible to re-open them in line with current Government guidance around social distancing.

It has been vital to plan to re-open Essex Libraries in stages to ensure that all sites could be risk assessed and appropriate safety measures could be put in place to support customers and staff to socially distance.

Cllr Susan Barker, Cabinet Member for Customer, Corporate, Culture and Communities said: “We have been eagerly preparing for the re-opening of all our Essex Libraries following temporary closure of the service and it has been a careful balance to ensure that we can do so as quickly and safely as possible, while adhering to Government guidance.

“We’re looking forward to welcoming people back to all of our libraries as soon as possible and I would encourage everyone to take advantage of our brilliant digital reading and online services in the meantime.”

To begin with, the service offered at Essex Libraries will be limited; residents will be able to return and borrow books, as well as have some limited time to browse the shelves.

In line with government guidance, the number of customers allowed in a library at any one time will need to be reduced to help people stay safe.

To help colleagues work safely, customers will also be asked to use the self-service machines to issue and return their items and to pay any charges.

Public computers, printing facilities and additional services such as recycling bags will be temporarily unavailable, but these services will be reviewed frequently so that they can be offered again as soon as it is safe to do so.

Further updates will be published on our website, on social media and in customer newsletters.

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