Thursday, July 18, 2024

Libraries Unlimited announces their roadmap for reintroducing in-person library services

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Libraries Unlimited announces their roadmap for reintroducing in-person library services, based on the 4-step plan set out by the government.  Throughout the pandemic their focus has been keeping customers, staff and volunteers safe and this will be the continued focus over the coming months.  

Library services currently available at your local library are: 

Library services are COVID secure and contactless. If you need library services during lockdown you are encouraged to book at a time when you’re leaving your home for other essential reasons such as collecting your shopping or taking exercise. Please continue to follow social distancing rules, wear a face covering in public places, and wash your hands regularly. 

The Prime Minister announced a 4-step plan to ease lockdown in England. outlining the detail and dates for each step.  Although there are dates given for each step, the government has warned that they are subject to change as the plan will be guided by data rather than dates, so some stages of reopening could be delayed. 

Alex Kittow, Chief Executive said 

We welcome the government’s roadmap and structure for reopening.  This is still a time to adhere to covid-19 guidelines and to continue to follow the ‘hands, space, face’.  We encourage our customers to continue to follow the stay at home guidance (until 29th March) and to stay local (from 29th March) visiting your local library rather than making bigger journeys.  

Our library staff have served our communities in Devon & Torbay throughout the pandemic and have responded to the rapid change.  We have continued our library services even when our physical buildings have been closed.  We’ve appreciated the feedback, messages and gratitude expressed by our customers.  This has helped us to fine-tune our offer and it has been morale boosting for staff to know what difference they are making in these challenging times. 

I know staff are keen to open our doors and to welcome customers back into our libraries.  With the roadmap we have a plan in place and hopefully we can be offering our in-person library service from late Spring/early Summer.  Our library spaces are covid secure and in the lead up to reopening we will update risk assessments and ensure our covid protocols are in place. 

We have lots of great events and activities in the planning that we can hopefully offer over the summer including the Summer Reading Challenge, Reading Friends 1:1 sessions, Lost Librarian escape room challenge, reading groups, FabLab workshops, BIPC events and so much more. 

We will continue to monitor the situation and will provide updates on our website and via social media.  We’ll publish full event details as soon as we receive the government green light.” 

Libraries Unlimited Roadmap for reintroducing in-person library services

Step One from 29th March, the Choose and Collect service restarts and some libraries will offer computer access for essential access.  This will need to be booked by contacting your local library by phone or via email.  From this date the government messaging moves from ‘Stay at Home’ to ‘Stay Local’.  You are encouraged to minimise your travel and use your local library at this time.

Step Two from 12th April, libraries will offer phased library reopening for book browsing, computer sessions, mobile libraries will be back on the road offering book browsing for one bubble at a time and the outdoor café space at The Hayridge will open.  Please see Libraries Unlimited website nearer the time for opening hours.  All covid-secure working practices will remain in place at this time and ongoing.

Step Three from 17th May, the rule of 6 will apply meaning that the café indoor spaces can reopen and meeting rooms for small groups of 6 will be available.   

Step Four from 21st June, based on the government’s roadmap Libraries Unlimited should be able to expand the in-person offer, start to introduce events and offer meeting rooms for bigger groups. 

The timetable is subject to government guidance and potential change.  Libraries Unlimited will continue to keep customers updated. 

Libraries Unlimited continues to offer a wide range of eBooks, eAudiobooks, digital magazines and newspapers on the website, as well as a vibrant programme of digital events via social media. 

Mobile Libraries 

The mobile libraries are not currently on the road, but the mobile library team are providing a targeted response to isolated individuals within rural communities. 

From 12th April, mobile libraries will be back on the road offering book browsing for one bubble at a time.  Please see the website for mobile libraries timetables to see when we are stopping near you. 

Home Library Service 

The Home Library Service in Devon and Books on Wheels service in Torbay will be offered where the volunteer is comfortable providing this service.  Volunteers will order items from the library, collect and then transport to the customer for contactless doorstep delivery. 

Returning Items 

The request is that library customers hold onto books, CDs and DVDs and return them when doors re-open from 12th April.  Items that were due back before 4th April have been automatically extended to 28th June 2021. 

If you do need to return items prior to 12th April please contact your local library in advance to confirm arrangements. 

Renewals, reservations and charges 

To assist customers, the following temporary arrangements are in place: 

  • Items that were due back before 4th April have been auto extended to 28th June 2021. 
  • Extended our loan period to 10 weeks on anything borrowed from 18th January 2021 
  • You can review your loans online or by contacting your library via email or phone 
  • Suspended our reservation charges temporarily as items may take longer than usual to become available. 

The digital library remains open, you can download and stream free eBooks, eAudiobooks, eMagazines and e-newspapers from the extensive collection. You can use online resources from home and access to Ancestry Library Edition has been extended to 30th June 2021.  In addition, there is remote access to Business Information databases.  Find out more at

Meeting Room Hire 

To make a booking or for room hire enquiries please call 0333 2342123 or email: [email protected] 

Business support 

We have a range of online business support, events and information available via the Business and IP Centre. 

How do I get in contact? 

Library contact details are on the Devon Libraries and Torbay Libraries webpage. 

Contact your local library by email for assistance with renewals or any other enquiries.  For general enquiries email [email protected] 

Libraries Unlimited is the charity responsible for running Devon and Torbay Libraries. For further information please visit Find us on Facebook – Libraries Unlimited. 

Boost News Desk
Boost News Desk
Robert Haylor has 14 years of web development experience, starting out as a web developer whilst still in his university dorm room at Birmingham City University. With a background and a strong interest in website design & development he is skilled in a variety of programming languages including PHP, MySQL, CSS3 and HTML5. As Managing Director of Boost Digital Media, he regularly jumps on to client projects on a daily basis as well as ensuring the company strategy is being implemented and is delivering results.

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