For a few weeks now, library customers have been able to visit their local Council-run library to return books, collect books they have reserved, and to pick up book selections they have requested through the order and collect service.

Now the council is opening the library doors to customers, after making changes to ensure that library visiting is as COVID-19 safe as possible both for staff and  customers.

Rob Jones, Library Service Manager said: “We are looking forward to welcoming back Island residents into our libraries once again.

“Libraries may feel a little different to before but we have worked hard to make sure your visit is as safe and comfortable as possible.”

Books borrowed before lockdown have all had their due-back date extended until 1 September, so there’s no need to rush back now if you have books that are due to return.

Cowes, Lord Louis, Ryde, Sandown and Ventnor Libraries will open their doors to customers for book borrowing during week beginning 10 August, while Freshwater Library will do so a week later from Tuesday 18 August.

Some services are not yet fully returned to normal, for example public computers will not be available for the first couple of weeks but wi-fi will be available for library users to browse the internet on their own devices in libraries.

The layout of the libraries may be noticeably different to allow safer access to books and computers, and enable, where appropriate, two metre social distancing.

There will be a limit to the number of customers allowed in each library at any time and this will differ for each library according to the size and layout of the building. Clearly marked areas indicate where customers can queue safely to enter the library.

All people entering the library will be asked to provide NHS Test and Trace contact information and must wear a face covering. Hand sanitiser will be provided from wall-mounted dispensers and all people entering the library will be required to use this as they enter the building.

Customer time in the library will be limited to 15 minutes for “Grab & Go” book borrowing and 30 minute pre-booked computer or wi-fi use, to ensure that everyone gets a chance to use the library throughout the day.

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