The Wokingham Paper

Lower Earley library reopening paused as council redeploys staff to manage second wave

Lower Earley library will not reopen this week. Picture: franzconde via FLickr

PLANS TO reopen Lower Earley Library this week have been cancelled, as the council redeploys staff to key areas for the second wave of Covid-19 infections.

Following the government’s announcement this week about the new national Covid-19 restrictions, the council said it must ensure measures are in place to protect existing services for the borough’s most vulnerable.

“We know it’s disappointing that Lower Earley’s and the return of our other libraries have had to be paused, but we must make sure our resources are deployed to keep our most vulnerable residents safe,” said Cllr Parry Batth, executive member for environment and leisure.

At the start of August, Wokingham town centre and Woodley libraries reopened with Covid-19 public health measures, plus an expanded range of digital books, magazines, music streaming and virtual events are available for residents free of charge online.

These two locations will continue to be open in Wokingham on Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 1.30pm, and in Woodley from 9am to 1pm, Monday to Friday for returning and borrowing books and for collecting waste bags (which must be pre-ordered online on our council website). 

Other services such as public computer use, study space, and newspaper and magazine browsing are not available.

Hand sanitiser stations are located at both entrances and face coverings must be worn inside the buildings. 

Visitors must also follow the one-way systems as well as social distancing at all times.

Library staff are urging people to minimise handling of books while browsing. If a book is touched, but not booked out, it must be taken to the returned books area where it will be put into quarantine for 72 hours before it can be returned to the shelves.

Cllr Batth added: “Wokingham and Woodley have been running well since reopening. Between them some 2,500 residents have visited and borrowed a book, and more than a 1,000 of these residents have made return visits. Just under half of the outstanding books have also been returned during this time.

“Remember, if you’re a member of any borough library, you can use Wokingham and Woodley if you wish, and you can also use our online services for e-books and audio, and search our catalogue although this will always lag by 72 hours until returned items go back on the shelves. And many events and groups that moved online during lockdown are still happening there.”

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