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Libraries to reopen in Oakham, Uppingham, Ketton, Ryhall and Stamford

Libraries across the area are set to reopen for communities to use again from Monday (April 12).

Rutland Library Service is offering an amnesty on long overdue books and DVDs as Covid-19 lockdown restrictions are gradually lifted and buildings reopen.

All of Rutland’s libraries are due to reopen next week, offering an ‘Order and Collect’ service and essential public computer use for registered library users. Borrowers are being urged to use this an opportunity to refresh their reading materials and bring back any loaned items they may have at home.

Stamford library (31906146)
Stamford library (31906146)

More than 5,000 of Rutland’s library items have been out on loan for longer than three months due to lockdown - almost half of these items are from the service’s children’s collection.

Coun Lucy Stephenson, cabinet member for culture and leisure at Rutland County Council, said: “Lots of people very wisely stocked up on books or DVDs from local libraries at the start of the pandemic, to see them through lockdown.

"Some borrowers who’ve been shielding or supporting others might have found it particularly difficult to get to their local library to return books. Bringing library items back late carries no charges or penalties and gives borrowers a chance to start enjoying new books again.

“Many Rutlanders don’t realise that our libraries don’t charge for overdue items, and may be reluctant to return books because they’re worried about late fees.

"Any items not returned after a year would normally be classed as ‘lost’, whereupon we have to send a bill to the borrower for buying a replacement. However, with this amnesty, even books and DVDs that are way overdue can be returned without any worries at all.”

Books and DVDs can be returned to the libraries in Oakham, Uppingham, Ketton or Ryhall or via the home delivery Service, and any historical fines will be cancelled.

Although browsing the library shelves will not be possible in Rutland until restrictions are further eased, borrowers can use the Online Library Catalogue to request items and renew books online. Requesting books for pick up is free if they are in print. The amnesty on late items will run until July 31 this year.

For more information about Rutland Library Service visit: www.rutland.gov.uk/libraries.

The library in Stamford High Street is among the 14 core libraries across Lincolnshire which will be open for residents to browse books, pick up reserved items and use computers to access essential digital public services. Bourne library will be open only for click-and-collect.

In order to maintain social distancing, the study space, reading areas and toilets will remain closed.

Events and activities will remain online, including story times, craft sessions, author talks and fitness classes.

Louise Egan, library services at Lincolnshire County Council, said: "We're looking forward to welcoming residents back into the libraries – we know people have missed coming in.

"To reassure residents – we have many safety measures in place to keep the libraries covid secure, including: hand sanitiser, quarantining books for 72 hours and extra space beside computers. Visitors must wear a face covering and also keep to the two metre social distancing rule.

"Also, all items issued in 2020 that are on loan have had their return dates extended May 4, so if you are unable to visit to return items, or prefer not to, don't worry about items becoming overdue."

People are still able to reserve books and use the click-and-collect service, by calling 01522 782010 or visiting https://capitadiscovery.co.uk/lincolnshire/home and a full list of community hubs offering services will be updated regularly on www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/libraries.

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