Libraries re-opening soon with range of social distancing measures

Published Monday, 22 June 2020

Preparations are underway to re-open six of Bromley’s libraries, with social distancing measures being installed prior to the re-opening.

The anticipated popular re-opening of a limited number of libraries on Monday 6 July will initially operate on a limited hours basis.  Each re-opened library has been carefully assessed, in line with government’s guidelines to make sure that social distancing can be maintained. The measures include arrangements for returned books to be stored separately for 72 hours, a new cleaning regime and physical measures such as screens and signs.

“Library users will welcome the news and we thank them in advance too for their support and understanding as they return to the library. We are working with GLL on making physical changes to buildings and putting new procedures in place which have required careful planning to protect both staff and our customers. If your local library is not yet open, it soon will be and of course, library members can access all our libraries, including our online library without walls, which I am pleased to confirm is remaining open and is a welcome addition to the library service” said Councillor Peter Morgan, Executive Councillor for Renewal, Recreation and Housing.

The following libraries will be open Monday to Saturday, from 10.00am-2.00pm:

  • Beckenham Library
  • Chislehurst Library
  • Penge Library
  • Orpington Library
  • St Paul’s Cray Library
  • West Wickham Library

The libraries that reopen first were selected because of a variety of factors, including that social distancing is more practical because of the size and layout of the building, with good accessibility, including nearby car parking in many examples. With the exception of the council tax kiosk all libraries will be cashless. Children under 11 visiting a library must be accompanied by an adult. As part of phase 1 the following services will be on offer:

  • Access to public computers and printing (limited to 30 min slots – appointments are to be booked daily on a first come first served basis, secondary school aged children (11+) and adults only at this stage (who can be accompanied by children)
  • Library Take Away (pre-prepared bags of 5 books for both children and adults in a genre or category of the customer’s choice e.g. Crime, romance, picture books)
  • Reservations for open libraries using the online catalogue
  • Quick browsing – face on selection only of popular titles
  • Purchasing food waste liners

Once it is shown that the re-opened libraries are operating successfully, it is envisaged remaining libraries will then re-open on 27 July, with the range of services also being increased gradually. As government advice changes the service will be reviewed and extended when it is safe to do so.


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