Bedford Central Library Image:Bedford Borough Council

Council is beginning the phased reopening of library services

From tomorrow (Thursday 20 August 2020), Bedford Central and Kempston libraries will be open for a new ‘Select and Collect’ service. Customers will also be able to return books they have had on loan during lockdown.

Select and Collect gives customers the opportunity to borrow library books again by making requests based on their favourite genres or subjects, online or via the phone.

Library staff will then choose books based on these preferences and issue them to customers, who will be notified when they are ready to collect from library entrances during Select and Collect opening times.

Please remember that you must wear a face covering when visiting a library, unless you have a legitimate reason not to.

Customers will also be able to use the request service to choose specific titles through Arena, the online catalogue, and to pick them up from the library.

Safety measures have been developed for the selection, issuing and packing of books for collection. When books are returned they will be quarantined for 72 hours.

Customers will also be able to return the items they have at home to Bedford Central and Kempston libraries during Select and Collect hours.

Due dates will continue to be extended for any items already on loan, and charges will remain paused for any items that are already overdue.

Cllr Doug McMurdo, portfolio holder for Leisure and Culture, said:

“Libraries are a truly valued local service and I’m really pleased we are able to start opening our libraries, enabling people to borrow and return books again in a safe and COVID-secure way.

“This is just the first phase in our library reopening and we look forward to expanding this when we are able to do so safely. Thank you very much for your patience and support in these unusual times.

“As we start to reopen these services, we are urging people to continue to behave responsibly and help us to avoid a local lockdown.

“Stay 2 metres away from others, wear a face covering, wash your hands regularly or use hand sanitiser, and if you are displaying any symptoms of coronavirus, stay at home and book a test.”

More information about how the service works, including opening times, will be available by visiting the Virtual Library website. Or by calling the Select and Collect Line on 01234 718178 from Monday to Saturday between 11.00am and 4.00pm.

The Home Library Service will also be restarting from this date. Deliveries will be made in a socially distanced way to ensure the safety of staff and customers.

There are a wide range of digital resources available on the Virtual Library via www.bedford.gov.uk/libraries including eBooks, eAudiobooks, eMagazines, and streaming services.