Bookworms in County Durham are now able to take advantage of a book collection service.
Durham County Council is introducing the ‘pick and collect’ service to help library users access books while its libraries remain closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Libraries across the country were closed in March in response to Government guidance on preventing the spread of coronavirus. During the past three months, library users in County Durham have been able to access online services, but from Monday, 6 July, they will be able to borrow books for the first time since lockdown restrictions were introduced.
The pick and collect service will allow members of the public to order up to three titles online or over the phone. They will then be contacted by the library service, using their registered number, to arrange a collection slot when they will be able to pick up their chosen books from a participating library.
The service will initially be available at libraries in Barnard Castle, Chester-le- Street, Consett, Crook, Newton Aycliffe, Peterlee, Seaham, Belmont and Bishop Auckland. Anyone can use the service, regardless of where in the county they live or which library they normally visit.
These libraries have been chosen as they are busy libraries, which also offer sufficient space to provide the essential elements of the pick and collect service. This includes space for visitors to queue safely prior to entry and for a quarantine area to be created for returned books. This also allows scope for the service to be adapted before it is rolled out to some other sites.
The chosen sites also offer a good geographical spread of locations around the county.
The libraries will not be open for browsing and all other library services, including access to public computers, will remain suspended for the time being.
Durham County Council will continue to provide its temporary Doorstep Book Delivery service, which was introduced during the lockdown period to provide books for isolated and vulnerable Books on Wheels library users.
An extended digital offer including eBooks, eMagazines and eAudiobook titles and free access to research tool Ancestry, has proved popular with library users and will remain available alongside other online resources and digital storytelling.
More than 7,000 people have visited the Libraries Online web page since the start of April, while more than 3,000 people have viewed online storytelling sessions during the same period.
The council is planning to roll out the pick and collect to more sites and it is also hoping to provide access to public computer facilities at a small number of sites in the near future.
Pick and collect is available via Library Online service or by calling one of the participating libraries.
Library collection slots and telephone assistance times may differ at each library and will not be in line with their former opening hours.
Anyone can become a member of the library service by visiting Library Online or calling one of the participating libraries.
For more information, including contact details for participating libraries, visit www.durham.gov.uk/pickandcollect or follow the library service’s Facebook or Twitter accounts.