New chapter on library services as lockdown eases
Posted on 4 May 2021
North Ayrshire Council is getting ready to restart some of its library services, allowing local residents to get their hands on physical books once again.
As part of a ‘Browse and Borrow’ pilot, four libraries will reopen to the public in the coming weeks – for the first time since libraries closed last March due to lockdown.
As part of the pilot, Kilbirnie and Irvine libraries will reopen week beginning 10 May, with Stevenston and Largs libraries reopening week beginning 17 May. These libraries will be available for residents to enter, browse and borrow books on:
- Kilbirnie – Mondays, 10am-1pm and 2-5pm (from 10 May)
- Irvine library – Tuesdays, 2-5pm, and Thursdays, 10am-1pm (from 11 May)
- Stevenston – Mondays, 10am-1pm and 2-5pm (from 17 May)
- Largs – Tuesdays, 2-5pm, and Thursdays, 10am-1pm (from 18 May)
This will give way to the recommencement of Kilbirnie and Stevenston Employability Hubs which are based within the libraries. Registration services will also be available at Kilbirnie library. Customer should check the library social media and national media for changes or further announcements.
In addition to the reopening of four libraries, the popular ‘Call, Click and Collect’ service which was launched last year after the initial lockdown, has already restarted and is now available across all local libraries.
This allows residents to borrow up to four books for four weeks. You can get involved either by calling your nearest library or visiting the Council’s online catalogue.
Requests can be made for a genre selection and library staff will then select the books, package them up and keep them in quarantine for 72 hours before they can be collected.
Staff will call or email customers to confirm a collection day and offer a one-hour collection slot. It is not yet possible to request books from other library branches.
Rhona Arthur, Head of Connected Communities, said: “We are all so very excited at the thought of welcoming people back into Irvine, Kilbirnie, Largs and Stevenston libraries – offering some normality to our residents after a hugely challenging year.
“While this is a joyous occasion and indeed long-awaited by many, we must stress that the experience will not be the same as it was before as we have to ensure we keep everyone safe and follow national guidelines. We kindly ask that all visitors to our libraries please following the safety measures that are in place.
“We are also delighted to be able to offer our Call, Click and Collect service again. We launched this last year after the first lockdown to allow people to borrow physical books - something that we know is valued by so many. We were blown away by the popularity of the service and are glad to see the service back up and running now that lockdown is easing.
“Our Libraries team has been working tirelessly to make all of this happen safely, while also serving our communities through our Hub provision. We hope our residents enjoy the resumption of library services and we look forward to seeing them in the coming weeks.”
The Council is advising residents that while the doors will be open at four libraries, the library experience will be vastly different to what it was before lockdown.
That’s because a number of measures have been put in place to keep both staff and customers safe including limiting the number of people allowed inside each building at one time, as well as the amount of time each person can spend browsing.
Face coverings will be mandatory as well as social distancing and there will also be a one-way system in place. Screens and hand sanitising stations will be positioned throughout each library, soft furnishings have been removed and toilets will be out of use.
Any books returned will be quarantined for 72 hours before becoming available for borrowing again.
No library activities or groups are planned at this stage of the pilot, however many of these remain available online.
The Council also offers an extensive digital library and cultural resources. These can be found on the Council's website.