Libraries are reopening for browsing!

West SUssex Library Service Newsletter header image.

Libraries Update - 12 August 2020

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Libraries are reopening for browsing!

Staircase of books

All 36 libraries in West Sussex will reopen for browsing during their limited opening hours from Monday 17 August.

Our aim is to gradually increase library opening hours over time, but at first the offer will remain limited in order to manage the new safety measures required for both customers and staff. This includes making sure that everyone in the library has space to move around safely and that returned stock can be quarantined for 72 hours.

During this time, our Select and Collect offer will remain in place; so whether you wish to reserve specific items or would like a member of staff to choose for you, your time in the library can be minimised with this service.

Please check the current opening hours before making your journey, and don't forget to bring your library card!


What to expect when you visit the library

Browsing in libraries

Libraries are included in the Government list of places where face coverings must be worn.

Your local library will also look a little different when you return, as we have put measures in place to support customers and staff. These include:

  • dropping off your returned items at the library entrance rather than at the self-service kiosks
  • asking you to sanitise your hands as you come into the building
  • limiting the number of people in the library at any one time
  • adding arrows and floor markings where needed
  • adding screens to service points
  • moving furniture to create more space
  • removing sale items such as cards and bags

We want everyone to feel safe at their local library. Our Customer Charter describes in more detail what we have in place and what we need you to do to help. Check out the picture version for a quick summary.


Access to library computers

Computer use with mask

We know that many of you have missed the library computers, perhaps where the internet cannot be accessed from home or because you rely on our printing and scanning facilities.

We hope you will be pleased to know that libraries in West Sussex will be offering a limited IT service in all 36 locations from 17 August.

These one hour sessions will need to be booked in advance, either by phoning or visiting your local library. To comply with social distancing guidance, fewer terminals than usual will be available. Our customer charter for Computer Use provides more information.

If you know someone who relies on library computers to get online, please let them know that IT is available again for limited use and to contact their local library to find out more.


Renewing your loans

Pile of books

All West Sussex library loans due for return during our closure period were extended, and no charges will have been added since 17 March.

We will begin sending out email reminders again soon. Meanwhile, you can check your account online or on the library app, using your library card number and PIN, to find out when your items are due back. Due dates will vary depending on when you borrowed your items.

As we start to resume our normal service with the reintroduction of browsing, you will see that anything you borrow will be issued for the usual loan period. You can renew items with your library card online, via the library app, by phone or in the library.


Getting the most from your visit

Larger pile of books

As we'll be encouraging you to keep your browsing time short and sweet for now, we have put together some useful hints and tips to help you make the most of the service.

Did you know, for example, that you can borrow up to twenty items on your library card at any one time?

Or that there are plenty of great websites you can browse for reading suggestions, and if you see a book you like the look of, you can reserve it for free with us online?


Your virtual enquiry service

Enquiries logo

If you just need to ask us a question, don't forget that you don’t need to queue at your local library. You can simply email us at enquiriesteam@westsussex.gov.uk or complete the Ask a Librarian form from the comfort of your home.

We can spend up to 30 minutes answering your questions and accessing material not freely available online - from Which? reports to historic newspapers.

Our Enquiries Team are ready and waiting! Whatever the question, we will find an answer as quickly as possible (within seven working days but usually sooner).


Keep in touch with us

Girl reading tablet

You can connect with us on social media if you have any questions or comments.

You can also contact us by email: county.libraries@westsussex.gov.uk