Book lovers across Wigan Borough will soon be able to get their fix of literature again and residents will be able to access a range of services as life centres reopen with new measures in place to keep visitors and staff safe.
Council teams have been working hard to ensure the safe reopening of Wigan and Leigh Life Centres and libraries from next Monday (27 July), operating between the hours of 10am and 2pm, Monday to Friday.
The vast majority of the borough’s 13 community libraries are scheduled to reopen on 14 September to ensure that staffing capacity can be returned to normal levels.
Discussions are ongoing with Aspull and Hope volunteer run libraries to consider opening dates in due course.
The opening of both town centre libraries will see some changes in place so that the customer experience is managed in a safe way, in line with Covid-19 guidance. This involves the removal of some fixtures, reorganisation of the layouts and ensuring all hygiene factors are in place.
Any returned books, including those borrowed before lockdown, will also be quarantined for 72 hours before going back into circulation.
Coun Chris Ready, cabinet member for communities, said: “We understand how important our libraries are for many residents in the borough and that is why I am delighted to announce the first phase of libraries reopening.
“The safety of residents and staff remains the council’s number one priority and that is why we are starting with the reopening of the life centres initially and introducing a number of added safety measures to protect all those who use them.
“I’m grateful for people’s patience and understanding during these unprecedented times.”
Having been closed since March when the coronavirus restrictions were introduced, each building will temporarily have a capacity limit to enable us to safely manage the number of visitors.
Wigan Council has also committed to the continued suspension of fines for unreturned books while all libraries are not open.
Those still unable to access our libraries will still be able to head online and access the free eMagazine service.
The Wigan Libraries Facebook and Twitter social media channels are updated daily with activities and plans for children and adults.
As more buildings and facilities gradually begin to reopen, residents will also have a chance to visit The Museum of Wigan Life from 13 August with reduced opening times.
Please see the council’s website and social media channels for all the latest information about temporary opening dates and times.