Hampshire County Council's Executive Member for Recreation and Heritage, Councillor Seán Woodward, said:
As people are asked to remain at home as much as possible during the new national restrictions, starting on 5 November, Hampshire Libraries have an important role to play in supporting young and old alike through the lockdown.In the interest of everyone's safety, which remains our top priority, we will not be able to support browsing in any of our branches while the latest national COVID-19 lockdown is in place. We encourage customers to instead look through our digital library and borrow and return digital items from the comfort of their homes, if they can.Alternatively, customers can make use of our Ready Reads service. For those people who do not have online access, or who need to borrow physical items, we have a range of other services that make choosing, reserving and collecting items quick and safe. Starting on 5 November, any fines for overdue loans will be frozen.Our School Library Service will continue to offer its usual service to support Hampshire schools while they are open.
From 5 November, library customers can continue to:
- use the Ready Reads: We Select, You Collect service, where Library staff hand select handpick books for collection from your chosen library – you can access the Ready Reads service online or by calling 01962 454747
- reserve and renew physical items online
- reserve and renew library books on your smartphone using the Spydus Mobile app
- use the Home Library Service if you can't get to the library due to ill-health, disability or caring responsibilities
- join virtual children's activities such as Online Rhymetime and Online Storytime
- pre-book to use an in-branch computer (for essential activity only) free of charge – you can read more about pre-booking an in-branch computer online or book by calling 01962 454747
During the national COVID-19 lockdown, the following temporary changes will be in place across all Hampshire libraries from 5 November:
- No in-branch browsing permitted
- All library cafés will be closed
- Library toilet facilities will be closed to the public, but sanitiser stations will continue to be available
- Fines for late return of books will be frozen
- Magazines will not be available to loan
Anyone living, working or studying in Hampshire can become a Hampshire Library member.
For more information about the Library Service, its digital resources and online activities, visit www.hants.gov.uk/library.
If you're interested in volunteering with Hampshire Libraries to support initiatives such as the Home Library Service, visit www.hants.gov.uk/librariesandarchives/library/support-your-library/volunteering.