Libraries and their staff have missed you and we are working hard to reopen as soon and as safely as we can. This will be in phases over the next few months as we open our services to the public again.

Council staff are busy working hard preparing libraries for their reopening. Every library building is different and they all have to be assessed so we can ensure they are as safe as they can be. We are organising new layouts and putting in social distancing measures so that everyone should be safe when each local library opens. This has been an important part of reopening, with safety being our priority, and will mean services will be available at some libraries before others.

On a phased basis during July, some libraries will be offering an Order and Collect service, where library users will be able to phone or email in and ask for a selection of books to be prepared for them. They will be given a timeslot to collect their books a few days later. We’ll post details on social media about which branches will be providing this service. Later we’ll be starting to open libraries for limited access to books and computers.

As libraries reopen, opening times and the number of people in the buildings will need to be restricted for a while, and we will keep users and residents up-to-date on this.

Councillor Mary Lea, Cabinet Member for Culture, Parks and Leisure said: “We know how important our library services and spaces are to the entire community and we can’t wait until we reopen our doors to everyone. It’s been a very difficult time for so many people and the reassurance and welcome that a library brings is something we want to see re-established as soon as possible. We just need to make sure that all is in place for your safety.

“During lockdown we have seen very large increases in the use of ebooks and emagazine use so people have definitely carried on reading during this ‘Sheffield Year of Reading’. Over 4,000 people have registered as new elibrary users in that time. As well as soon being able to order and collect books, we’re also reminding residents about all of the other reading activities and events that we have developed during lockdown which are still available online and some more that will take place over the next few weeks.”

To whet your appetite visit https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/libraries-sheffield-9795467632 to see for yourself what’s on offer from the Sheffield Adventure Book Festival, running between 13th and 23rd July and visit http://shefflibraries.blogspot.com/ for more about our events and activities. The summer reading challenge for 4 to 11 year olds is already in full swing, the children’s book launch is coming up and there are craft activities from Ignite and the council’s family learning team too.