ONLY five libraries in Coventry will stay open from today (March 23), as the city council’s staffing capacity is reduced due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The council says the Central Library and Bell Green, Foleshill, Stoke and Tile Hill libraries will be able to remain open.
But other libraries across the city, including ones run by volunteers, will not be closed for the foreseeable future.
A spokesperson for the council said: “Libraries will only be open on the basis of a self-service offer – residents are welcome to come into the library, choose books from the available stock and self-issue using the available equipment.
“Similarly users will be able to access these libraries to use the public access computers which they are able to access independently.
“Whilst staff will be available to maintain a safe space we will not be able to provide the normal 1-1 service due to the importance of social distancing.”
Coun Kevin Maton, Cabinet Member responsible for libraries, said: “We know how important libraries are to so many people and we want to do what we can to try and keep them open.
“However, it is vital we follow advice on social distancing and these measures will help us to respect that advice while allowing people to use the resources that will help them through this difficult period.”
The Library Service also offers the opportunity to borrow ebooks, eaudiobooks, e-magazines and enewspapers which can be accessed via the council website. It is working to add additional titles to this offer as well as thinking of ways to expand the online library service offer as more people are spending time at home.
Additionally for the time being library fines are being waived, loan periods extended to 90 days, the number of times an item can be renewed increased to six times and the number of items that users can borrow will be increased to 50.
The council adds that, where possible, other charges will be waived in order to enable as many people as possible to borrow books to help with the challenges of the current crisis.