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Newark and Southwell libraries to re-open on July 13, Inspire confirms

Libraries in Newark and Southwell are to re-open on Monday, July 13, it has been confirmed.

The centres have been closed since March because of coronavirus.

Inspire, which manages the libraries on behalf of Nottinghamshire County Council, will initially open six libraries in the county on July 6.

Newark Library is preparing to re-open. Photo: Inspire (37324048)
Newark Library is preparing to re-open. Photo: Inspire (37324048)

Nottinghamshire Archives will open on July 11 followed by a further 40 libraries ­— including Newark and Southwell ­— on July 13.

Inspire staff have reviewed the service offer and have been working in buildings to make necessary preparations to welcome visitors within government guidelines.

With the priority on staff and customer safety, libraries and archives will operate with a reduced service, limited capacity in buildings, additional cleaning measures and guidelines in place for social distancing.

As part of these safety measures, quarantine arrangements are in place for books and staff may be wearing PPE.

To support social distancing, library spaces have been reorganised with no access to study space, toilets, refreshment areas and no events or activities.

Once libraries and archives reopen customers will be able to:

• Browse and borrow books and other items or use the new Click and Collect service by appointment.

• Return books in the designated area. There will be no overdue charges until August 17, so there is no need to renew at this time. Reservations and interlibrary loans are not yet available.

• Access computers (advance booking is advised) and use printers, scanners and photocopiers with the correct change, where contactless payment is not available.

• Visit Archives by appointment only to view and photograph pre-ordered original archives. Other services such as reprographics, research, the Inspire Picture Archive and the online archive catalogue can be accessed at inspireculture.org.uk/archives.

John Cottee, chairman of the council’s communities and place committee, said: “I’m delighted that we are now in a position to support our communities by opening the doors to our libraries and archives.

"I am confident that the measures implemented by Inspire for managing capacity, social distancing and cleaning will ensure safe and welcoming spaces for visitors.”

Peter Gaw, Inspire chief executive, said: “We are looking forward to welcoming customers back, albeit in a limited, but ultimately safe way for both visitors and staff.

"While our customers have made use of our online provision during our closure, we recognise that libraries for many are a lifeline and our reopening is the first step to restoring a valuable community resource.

"We aim to continue to reach those who may not be able to visit us by continuing our online provision and offering a new click and collect service”

Before lockdown, more than 50,000people visited the county's libraries every week and more than 200 courses and events were hosted a week.

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