CHESHIRE West and Chester Council has confirmed that some of its libraries will reopen this month.

Chester Library at Storyhouse will welcome back visitors again from tomorrow (Saturday, July 4) with its usual opening hours in operation.

Libraries in Ellesmere Port and Neston will then open their doors from Monday, July 13 but with reduced hours in place.

To ensure safety the number of people allowed inside at any one time will be limited.

Council leader and cabinet member for wellbeing, councillor Louise Gittins, said: "Our libraries teams have really missed their customers over the last few months and while they've been doing lots of fun events online to keep in touch, are looking forward to welcoming people back.

"However, coronavirus hasn't gone away and we need to be careful and cautious in our approach to reopening facilities.

"Risk assessments have been completed and we are making our libraries as safe as possible by putting certain measures in place. These will include hand sanitiser, one-way systems and floor marking to maintain social distancing.

Chester and District Standard:

"To support the council's involvement with the NHS Track and Trace service, visitors will be asked for contact details.

"You will be able to return items and borrow more via our self-service machines. You will also be able to pre-book a PC for essential tasks and urgent printing or photocopying – don't forget your library card.

"Although we're not able to accommodate events yet inside our building, many of this summer's events have moved online including the Summer Reading Challenge, Adults Read Two and the new Julybrary Teen Challenge.

"We look forward to welcoming visitors again but ask that during the ongoing pandemic customers try to spend the minimum time possible inside our buildings to avoid the risk of spreading the virus. And, of course, please don't visit if you have any symptoms."

To support a safe and managed opening the libraries will have some new measures in place:

  • All loans have been extended until 1 September.
  • Families are always welcome in libraries but to ensure spaces can be managed safely all children under 12 must be accompanied by a responsible adult.
  • A core offer of lending books is available but it will be a little while before other library services will be available including: reservations, reference stock, newspapers, local studies material and equipment, seating, toilets and meeting rooms.
  • Some partner services will also be unavailable including council customer services points located in Ellesmere Port and Neston libraries and the housing officer at Neston.
  • Other additional services like the cafes at Winsford and Ellesmere Port are temporarily unavailable.