The phased reopening of Manchester’s libraries is set to continue, with 11 more facilities set to welcome visitors back from Monday 14 September.
Following the successful reopening of some libraries across Manchester in July, more are set to reopen their doors to users this week.
Abraham Moss, Arcadia, Beswick, Brooklands, Hulme and North City will all reopen, along with community libraries in Burnage, Barlow Moor, Fallowfield, Miles Platting and New Moston. For the two remaining Manchester libraries where a reopening date is yet to be confirmed, Northenden and Powerhouse, work is continuing to ensure that these facilities can reopen to visitors as soon as possible.
To allow the libraries to reopen, safety measures have been put in place for the protection of visitors and staff, including a restriction of the number of people allowed inside at any one time, social distancing and queuing systems, plus hand sanitising stations. Visitors should be aware that due to the essential restrictions on visitor numbers, it may be necessary to queue at busy times.
To ensure that everyone who wants to access library services can and feels safe in doing so, the hour from 10-11am has been reserved especially for the over 60 on weekdays at all libraries.
The phased reopening of Manchester’s libraries began in July and those that have already reopened have since reported around 30,000 visits. This has been in part due to a huge effort behind the scenes by library staff to make sure that all libraries are Covid-compliant.
A Public Library User Survey carried out in February this year revealed that 81 per cent of people who said they sometimes feel lonely, felt less so after using the library. Overall, Manchester’s libraries received a satisfaction rating of 91 per cent.
More than 20 per cent of library users since July have used the internet, a service that many see as essential to stay connected and in touch, highlighting the importance of free public access to the web for individuals.
Manchester City Council has applied a fine amnesty, meaning that any books returned before Thursday 22 October will not have late charges applied, no matter how overdue they may be.
Executive Member for Skills, Culture and Leisure, Cllr Luthfur Rahman, said: “We want residents to visit their local library and take advantage of free access to books and services, with the knowledge that we are working hard to make the experience as safe and welcoming as possible.
“Libraries are focal points in our communities, helping people stay connected through access to high-quality information, reading for pleasure and digital technology.
“In many cases, libraries are relied upon as places where people can access the internet for free, which in itself brings about a whole new opportunity to connect with friends and family, no matter how far away.”