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Liniclate and Stornoway libraries re-opened with a reduced service on Monday.
Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has been working to ensure all procedures managing the re-opening of services follow Scottish Government guidance and Safer Workplace Guidance for public libraries.
The phased re-opening will initially involve reduced opening hours at Liniclate and Stornoway libraries which will offer a special ‘connect and collect’ service, hopefully leading to a gradual return to normal library services at all branches. The library service hopes to announce a date for Tarbert Library’s re-opening with the same service shortly. There is no date for Castlebay Library to re-open, but Barra and Vatersay communities will be kept informed of progress.
Under the Connect and Collect system, each library will have reduced opening hours. Customers can arrange to visit their local library at a specific day and time to collect a bag of books library staff will have prepared for them.
Customers can connect with their local library by phone, email or through completing the online connect and collect form available via the library website.
They can either place holds on particular items through the library catalogue or tell staff what kinds of books /audio books/DVDs/authors they enjoy.
Library staff will then put a collection of five items together for them which will be ready to collect at an agreed time.
Customers will also be able to return their outstanding library books at the same time.
Comhairle nan Eilean Siar Libraries Manager Kathleen Milne said: ‘Even though the eLibrary has been available throughout lockdown, and will continue to be available round the clock, we know from the many phone calls received over the last few months, how many customers have missed the library and are desperate to get their hands on some new, physical, books.
‘The library will continue to promote new books through events and customers are encouraged to follow ‘wilibraries’ on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to keep up to date with any developments and to share their reading experiences.
‘Everyone at Western Isles Libraries is looking forward to seeing their customers again. They have been missed.’
When collecting items from libraries, customers are requested to wear face coverings – unless exempt – sanitise their hands and observe physical distancing at all times.