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Lily Newton-Browne Weston Mercury April 13, 2021  


Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Initially, libraries will open in the mornings for people to collect books from the Library Choice service.

People can now visit their local library following council-run buildings reopening in North Somerset and Somerset on Monday.  

In North Somerset, people can borrow books using the self-service system. Computers and printing facilities are available to use by prior booking. 

Safety measures have been put in place in all libraries, including hand sanitiser, signs to wear a face-covering as well as to keep two metres away from others. 

Individual study space can be booked in advance at Portishead, Pill, Yatton and Weston libraries and local studies materials will be available by appointment at Weston Library.  

Library customers can continue to request books using the non-contact click and collect service and the expanded online services, including free eBooks and downloadable eAudio books, which will also continue. 

North Somerset Council’s executive member for leisure, culture and tourism, councillor Mike Solomon, said: “Libraries have a key role to play in the local economic, social and cultural recovery from this awful pandemic.” 

Opening hours at North Somerset libraries may be restricted, so people are advised to check before visiting. Face-to-face enquiries and events or groups are not currently available. 

In Somerset, shelves are ‘crammed’ with new books and library members can borrow up to 20 books at a time for free.  

Covid-secure measures are still in place and charges for some other items including DVDs and talking books are also in place.

Free internet access is available in every library and people are able to use the Wi-Fi printing service. They can send documents to print from home and collect at their convenience.  

Library computers are available for essential users, but people may need to pre-book a time slot in advance. 

Jobseekers and people wanting to develop new skills for employment can also borrow an internet-ready tablet, which they can keep for up to six weeks, that is pre-loaded with useful links, information and support. 

Parents of a lockdown baby, or people who want to chat to other parents, can also join the informal online Reading Friends discussion groups, and Somerset Libraries Presents… will see the return of some regular favourites alongside some new events.