Manchester re-opened its libraries to the public this week in a Covid-secure way and during the first three days of opening libraries have seen over 3000 visits.
Members can enter the library and browse for a maximum of 30 minutes, with controls on the maximum number of people allowed into the building at any one time in place. PCs are available to book in advance, or for walk-up customers, for a maximum of one hour. Printing and photocopying facilities are also available, while all issues of books will be via self-service.
Central Library’s ground, first and second floors are open to customers, along with the lower ground floor City Library for limited browsing and PC and printer use. The library’s famous Reading Room is available for study with reduced seating capacity. Access to the Archives+ interactive exhibitions and archives material in the search room and microfilms is available, with pre-booking required. One-to-one support to enable residents to complete the 2021 Census is also available at many libraries.
In line with Covid guidelines, all visitors are required to wear a face covering, unless medically exempt. All customers are asked to sanitise their hands on entry to the library and to use disinfectant wipes to wipe down any equipment used before and after use. Social distancing is required, and signage is in place to re-enforce these risk mitigation measures. Track and trace will also continue to be in place at all sites.
Opening dates and hours for libraries can be found at www.manchester.gov.uk/libraries. As national restrictions are gradually lifted over the next few months, libraries will expand opening hours and the range of services available.
Neil MacInnes, OBE, Head of Libraries, Galleries and Culture said: “It’s fantastic to see people back in our libraries. We have worked hard to ensure that all libraries are Covid-safe, and these first steps have been highly anticipated by all our staff. It allows us to continue to provide access to information, learning opportunities and reading for pleasure for all our residents. There will be restrictions in place so we would ask people to abide by the Covid rules, but we know that this phased reopening will allow us to work towards opening up fully as time passes and get back to a normality that we all crave.”