Cornwall Libraries to offer book loaning again

From Cornwall Council:

After the Coronavirus closedown, Cornwall’s Libraries will soon be able to offer book loaning services again by welcoming you at the door – but not any further just yet. To keep both staff and customers safe an easy ‘click and collect’ borrowing method has been devised.    

From Monday 6 July library members can order books by browsing online, then go to their nominated library to collect their choices from the lobby or entrance. Books you may have been looking after for many weeks can also be returned. There will be no fines charged on late returns until 30 September 2020. 

Cabinet Member Edwina Hannaford, portfolio holder for libraries, said: “This is a longawaited moment. Although Cornwall’s Library and Information team has done wonderful job of providing reading material via its popular online services, if you’ve been longing for a real book in your lapby now you’ll be very keen to get back to more familiar paper and print.” 

“Libraries will only open partially, and you won’t yet be invited in to browse the shelves. But the ingenious half-way house solution available from 6 July will be browsing online, clicking to order your selections, then collecting them in person from your local library’s foyer or reception.” 

“You can return loaned books at the library entrance too – but please don’t overwhelm staff and volunteers by all rushing back in the first week! And the good news is that there won’t be any fines for overdue books until the end of September, or indeed any cash transactions at all.” 

Returned books will be ‘quarantined’ for a period to ensure they are safe to touch, and the borrowing and return protocols will mean safe hand contact between staff and customers.  

Libraries in Cornwall come in all shapes and sizes, and since devolution are managed by different councils and community groups. So, a method of restoring book loans they could all adopt without creating social distancing problems was needed – hence ‘click and collect’.      

Edwina Hannaford added: “We must thank all the various library partner organisations who have made this cautious re-opening possible. Of course, the wealth of online reading, eBooks, Audiobooks, newspapers and magazines, comics and eGraphic novels will continue to be available via the online libraryThe Summer Reading Challenge for children aged 4-11 continues online this year. Join the ‘Silly Squad challenge’ online where there are rewards, games and lots of awesome books to discover and read!  

“But the joy of actually leafing through a good book is something we’ve all missed, and now we’ve found a way of making it happen safely. Come on Cornwall, let’s get reading!”       

Those who use the Information Service for payments and council enquiries should continue to use Paypoint facilities, online and telephone options that have been in place over the last three months, as the Information Service will remain closed. The click and collect service is only for library books.  

Procedures are also being put in place to support the most vulnerable residents unable to access online or phone information. Regular library activities such as storytime sessions will have to await a full reopening, and can’t go ahead until it is safe. 

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