Will libraries be closing in the second lockdown?

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  • As England prepares for its second lockdown of 2020, we can’t help wondering how this will impact our nation’s libraries.

    And with the first National Lockdown leading to the closure of libraries, many are unsure as to whether these new restrictions will see a repeat of this. 

    England’s lockdown will come into effect from 12.01 on 5 November. They are currently proposed to last until 2 December. From then on, lockdown restrictions will be eased on a local and regional basis.  

    What do we know so far?

    This week Fiona Williams, chief executive of Explore York Libraries and Archives, was reported by The York Press as suggesting it was still possible that some library services may be able to remain open. This would be the case if they were categorised as ‘essential’ by the government.

    MORE: The lessons we learned from lockdown that will help us get through isolation 2.0

    However, whether this will happen for some libraries across England remains uncertain.

    Libraries, lockdown

    Currently the most recent government advice suggests that people can only leave their homes for limited reasons and must work from home where possible.

    Whilst Wales’ restrictions specified that their libraries must be closed, England has yet to have this clarified. 

    Can I still get collect library books during lockdown?

    Whilst it’s expected that the majority of libraries could be closed along with other non-essential services, there might yet be light at the end of the reading tunnel.

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    So far the UK Government have declared that Click and Collect for “non-essential retail” is allowed.

    Back in June when the National Lockdown began to ease, some libraries were utilising Click and Collect systems. These services have been used to great effect in various sectors throughout the first lockdown.

    Right now the situation is still not entirely clear when it comes to England’s libraries. However this does suggest that it might be possible for some libraries to continue to provide Click and Collect services safely.

    It seems only time will tell whether we will still be able to access our local library’s shelves.

    In the meantime, we can all turn to a good book to help brighten these autumn days.

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