Essex County Council (ECC) has today published the final plans for the re-opening of Essex Libraries, following review by the council’s Place Services and Economic Growth Policy and Scrutiny Committee yesterday (25 June).
Essex Libraries have been temporarily closed over the past few months in line with Government guidance around COVID-19.
The plans for a phased re-opening of sites will see an initial group of libraries* re-open from 6 July. These sites also provide Registration Services and therefore also allow this important service to be more easily delivered too.
It has also been possible to bring forward the second phase of re-opening and an additional 44 libraries* which had previously been scheduled to re-open on 20 July will now be open from 13 July.
Plans for the remaining 14 libraries* will be regularly reviewed to assess how it might be possible to re-open them in line with current Government guidance around social distancing.
Cllr Susan Barker, Cabinet Member for Essex Libraries, said: “We are so pleased to have taken another step forward to re-opening all of our libraries and are looking forward to welcoming people back soon."
“It has been vital to plan to re-open sites in stages in order to ensure that we could carry out appropriate risk assessments and put procedures in place to ensure our customers and employees remain safe."
“I would like to thank everyone involved in getting us to this point and also our customers for their patience.”
The services offered at Essex Libraries will look different in order to support new safety measures and social distancing guidelines.
Residents will be able to return and borrow books, as well as have some limited time to browse the shelves.
In line with government guidance, the number of customers allowed in a library at any one time will also need to be reduced to help people stay safe.
To help colleagues work safely, customers will be asked to use the self-service machines to issue and return their items and make payments.
Public computers, printing facilities and additional services such as recycling bags will be temporarily unavailable, but these services will be reviewed frequently so that they can be offered again as soon as it is safe to do so.
Further updates will be published on our website, on social media and in customer newsletters.
The plans are available on the Essex County Council website and remain subject to call-in until Wednesday 1 July.
*The initial 16 libraries that will open from 6 July are: Basildon, Billericay, Braintree, Brentwood, Chelmsford, Clacton, Colchester, Dunmow, Epping, Harlow, Harwich, Maldon, Rayleigh, Rochford, South Benfleet and Witham.
The additional 44 libraries that will open from 13 July 2020 are: Brightlingsea, Broomfield, Buckhurst Hill, Burnham-on-Crouch, Canvey Island, Chigwell, Chipping Ongar, Coggeshall, Danbury, Earls Colne, Frinton, Galleywood, Great Baddow, Great Parndon, Great Tarpots, Greenstead, Hadleigh, Halstead, Hatfield Peverel, Hockley, Hullbridge, Ingatestone, Laindon, Loughton, Manningtree, North Melbourne, North Weald, Old Harlow, Pitsea, Prettygate, Saffron Walden, Shenfield, Sible Hedingham, South Woodham Ferrers, Springfield, Stansted, Tiptree, Tye Green, Waltham Abbey, Walton, West Mersea, Wickford, Wivenhoe and Writtle.
The remaining 14 libraries that will be kept under review are: Great Wakering, Debden, Kelvedon, Holland, Silver End, Fryerns, Southminster, Mark Hall, Stock, Stanway, Thaxted, Vange, West Clacton and Wickham Bishops.