Manchester City Council to gradually reopen the city’s libraries

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A phased reopening of local libraries will commence from July 4, Manchester Council has confirmed.

Eight selected libraries will initially welcome back customers on Tuesdays, Thursday and Saturdays from 11am – 3pm; with books reservable online from June 29.

Library visitors will be allowed 30 minutes of browsing; taking out a maximum of six books at any one time.

A limited number of computers will also be available to pre-book.

Hand sanitisers will be placed at each entrance, and every library will be taking care to restrict the number of visitors on site.

Children aged 12 and under must be accompanied by a parent, carer or older sibling. 

The eight Manchester libraries returning during the first phase are:

  • Chorlton Library
  • City Library (at Central Library)
  • Didsbury Library
  • Gorton Library
  • Longsight Library
  • Newton Heath Library
  • Withington Library
  • Forum Library, Wythenshawe

With the exception of City Library, all these libraries will open an hour earlier at 10am on Tuesdays and Thursdays for residents aged over 60.

Any books taken out before quarantine have been renewed until the end of July – meaning borrowers will not incur fines.

Executive Member for Skills, Culture and Leisure, Councillor Luthfur Rahman, said: “Since the pandemic forced us to close our libraries in March, we’ve done everything possible to connect residents with books, information and activities online.  

“However, we’ve really missed seeing them and are keen to welcome them back to their libraries in person.
 
“This is only the start of the reopening process, which needs to be done in a careful and gradual way, but it is nevertheless an important step forward and one we’re looking forward to.


Didsbury Library / Pimlico Badger
/ Flickr

He continued: “Social distancing is still very much a requirement at all times.  This is why, at this stage, we’re only able to open selected libraries for restricted numbers of visitors at a time, but we will be keeping this under review over the course of the summer.  

“Nevertheless, this does mean that residents will be soon able to access our fantastic catalogue of books and free computer facilities once again.  We will provide further updates as soon as we are able to safely reopen more libraries and extend opening hours.”

The Books To Go service for housebound residents also restarted earlier this month and will continue to deliver books to its customers every four weeks.
 
Head over to the council website for more information.  

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