Central Bedfordshire Council has confirmed that Select and Collect services will continue at its 12 libraries during the latest government lockdown.
During the peak of the pandemic, as libraries across the country were closed, Bedford Borough & Central Bedfordshire’s virtual library remained open. The range of online events, ebooks and audiobooks available to the public was transferred online.
Library customers are able to request, collect and return items at their local library without entering the building, keeping both customers and staff safe.
Specific titles can be ordered, or library staff to select a range of books from a particular genre, all for free. Books can be ordered online via the virtual library or by using the Bedfordshire Libraries app. The app can be found on Google Play Store and Apple App Store.
Customers without access to the internet can place an order over the phone during opening hours by calling their local library. When the order is ready, residents will be contacted by phone to let them know it’s ready for collection.
The extended opening times for customers to be able to collect and return books vary at each library. Customers are advised to visit the council’s website to check the times for their local library.
Councillor Ian Dalgarno, executive member for Community Services at Central Bedfordshire Council, said:
“We’re really pleased to be able to continue to offer our select and collect service to our customers during the current lockdown restrictions, alongside our virtual library services.
“Following the announcement last week, we have been hearing feedback from lots of our residents and they have said that it’s fantastic news that the service is continuing and say they would be lost without access to books.
“Customers are reminded to please follow the guidance, maintain social distancing while visiting the library and please stay at home if you have any coronavirus like symptoms.”
There is signage at each library explaining to customers how to safely return their books. Returned books will be quarantined for three days before being available for reissue.
This will help to safeguard staff and customers against the handling of items that someone else has touched.
Pre-issued items will be brought to customers at the entrance to the library after they confirm their name and the last four digits of their library card number.
Residents are reminded not to visit the library if they are unwell and that a face covering must be worn.