Fines will be waived
Bristol libraries will be reopening their doors from Monday – and returning to normal opening hours over the next 14 days.
They are also offering an amnesty – giving people the chance to return any overdue books without having to pay the fines.
Residents have three months to hunt for any outstanding books – and bring them back to their local library without facing a penalty. If they are not returned, the library service will have to spend additional money to replace them.
Libraries will continue to offer a number of COVID-secure measures to keep staff and customers safe. These include screens for help desks, hand sanitiser units and ventilation.
Visitors are still encouraged to wear masks to protect library staff and other users – but there will be no restrictions on time spent in the library. NHS Test and Trace will still be available but on a voluntary basis.
The 23 libraries that are currently offering services will return to normal opening hours over the next two weeks, starting from Monday 19 July. These include libraries local to Knowle West – Filwood, Marksbury Road and Knowle.
This will allow time for layouts to be changed back to allow for full browsing and use of the computers.
Computers will not have to be booked in advance
Computers will remain more spaced out where possible – and will no longer have to be booked in advance. Library buildings will not currently be available outside of opening hours.
Deputy Mayor Councillor Asher Craig, who has responsibility for libraries, said: “We are pleased to be taking another big step towards normality, but we still need to approach our new freedom with caution. Many of our libraries are historic, and some are small, so please be considerate to others and library staff while using the service, and please wear a mask if you can.
“It has been a tough year for everyone, and we appreciate that returning library books was probably not top of people’s ‘to-do list’ in recent months. That’s why we wanted to wipe the slate clean and allow everyone to bring back any books they find at home without fear of picking up a penalty…
“I also want to say a massive thank you to the library team, who have done a magnificent job of moving so many activities and events online to help keep people entertained during such difficult times.”
Hartcliffe Library currently remains closed along with St Paul’s, Lockleaze and Avonmouth – and the service is working to reopen them as soon as possible.
The first floor of the Central Library will remain closed while the library team make some changes to their accessibility and evacuation process.
This means the public toilets, including the accessible toilet, will be temporarily closed. Public computers, including the accessible desks and computers, have been moved to the ground floor. The Children’s Library will be open including the popular pirate ship.
Bristol Libraries will continue to offer a wide variety of services online for people to access at home – such as eBooks which you can borrow from CloudLibrary and Overdrive. There is also access to eAudio books through BorrowBox.
Members can read thousands of daily newspapers from around the world, as well as popular eMagazines, and eComics.
The library team will also continue running a number of online events – from children’s story time and quizzes to a virtual Lego club and a podcast.
For information on joining, new opening hours and all the services you can access at home, visit www.bristol.gov.uk/libraries-archives or search Bristol Libraries online.