The first phase of reopening seven of LiveWire’s libraries across Warrington saw over 3,300 visits and 2,931 items issued in just 5 days.
LiveWire, the community interest company that manages library services in Warrington on behalf of Warrington Borough Council, say the procedures put in place to safeguard the safety of customers and staff worked very well. If all continues to go to plan, the next phase of library reopening will see Culcheth reopen in August, followed by the remaining four libraries in September and October.
The reopening of Burtonwood, Orford, Great Sankey, Lymm, Stockton Health, Warrington and Woolston centred on the safety of customers and staff, and were aimed at giving customers the confidence to borrow books in a friendly, safe and hygienic manner.
Health and safety measures put in place included social distancing for customers and staff, one-way systems around parts of the buildings, hand sanitiser at entrances and exits and the quarantining of books for 72 hours after they are returned.
The library service has seen a huge increase in the number of e-books borrowed during the closure period, and the focus on the digital offer will continue. Also being expanded is the Library at Home offer for vulnerable customers, and a new Order and Collect service.
Emma Hutchinson, Managing Director of LiveWire, said: “It has been wonderful to welcome people of all ages back into our libraries – firmly proving the important place they have in our communities. The new hygiene and social distancing measures we have put in place for the safety of customers and staff have worked very well and the physical libraries are ably being backed up by our online and home library offers.
“As a result of the initial reopening of seven library sites going so well, we are able to look ahead to the next phase of reopening more libraries in the borough, starting with Culcheth in Augustand followed by the remaining libraries in the coming months.
“We thank all of our customers for their patience over this period and their ongoing commitment to Warrington libraries, and our partners and Warrington Borough Council for their support.”
Cllr Tony Higgins, Warrington Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for leisure and community, said: “We’ve worked really hard to get our first seven libraries re-opened safely. I’m delighted that the first week of re-opening has been such a success. It’s great to see customers back and the safety measures we’ve put in place for everyone running so smoothly
“Safety is at the heart of all the work we are doing to re-open every library in the borough, as soon as possible. It’s great news that we are now in a position to move to the next phase of libraries reopening, starting with Culcheth next month.”
For more information on the reopening of libraries, including the new opening hours plus a list of FAQs for customers, visit www.livewirewarrington.co.uk/news