We are really sorry to have to inform you that the Library will be closing on Saturday 21st March at 1.30pm until further notice. This has been a very difficult decision for us to take but is fully supported by the Trustees and staff. It respects the developing Government advice about minimising risk by avoiding unnecessary social contact and reflects the consensus of our friends at other ILA Libraries about how we should operate in the changed environment brought about by the need to adjust to the challenges of coronavirus (COVID-19).
We wanted to make and announce our decision in a timely way that would enable Members to have the opportunity to visit the Library and stock up on books and other items from our collection. We realise that 2 days is not a lot of notice but hope that we get the chance to see some of you in the Library during this time so that we can encourage you to take as many items out as you can carry. As previously mentioned, and to alleviate any concerns Members may have, we will update everyone’s loan record before we close so that no items are shown as overdue.
We want to assure you that the closure of the Library does not mean that our relationship with you as Members ends. At this stage, we still expect some level of staff access to the library and most of us are already set up to be able to work from home if this is not possible. We want to offer as much of a service as we can to you remotely and we have been working hard on ideas for how we can keep the Library community going during this uncertain time. Already, in just a few days, we have been able to work up a couple of initiatives that we hope you will be able to use in the coming weeks.
First of all, we have set up a postal book service for Members which will enable up to 10 items (books and DVDs) to be delivered to your door whilst the Library is closed. There will be a charge for this service to cover the costs of packaging and postage only – we are not running this service to generate income for the Library but rather to provide continuity of service to our Members. The cost of the service will be £3.00 for up to 3 items to be sent to you in the post, £6.00 for 4 to 10 items to be sent in the post.
The process for making use of this service will be to reserve items from our catalogue on our website in the usual way – or by emailing email@example.com – and then to go to the Donate button of the website and make the payment as detailed above using a bank or charge card, with a note identifying your membership number and name.
Members not on the internet will be also able to access the postal service by either writing in and requesting books or ‘phoning the Library and leaving a message should a team member not be able to take the call. We will arrange to take payment over the phone.
We are hoping that we can get items out to you as quickly as possible using this method, and if it works well, it may become a service we provide to you once the Library is back up and running as normal. There will be no expectation that Members will return the items posted out until the Library is fully open again.
We have also set up a Members’ online community forum to help you keep in contact with us and each other. The forum can be found at https://theleedslibrary.
We also want to reassure you that we are doing all we can to support staff during this period. They will continue to receive full pay and will only be asked to attend the Library if it is safe and reasonable to do so. We are hugely grateful to them for all their work over recent days and their commitment to the Library and its Members.
Over the coming weeks we will be monitoring the situation with regards to COVID-19 very closely, and will keep you updated via email, newsletter, our website, our new forum and our social media accounts as well as by post to our Members who are not online, about both our plans to reopen and projects and initiatives that we will set in place to engage you and all members whilst we are closed.
Finally we want to make clear, on behalf of all of the staff team and Trustees, that we recognise that the heart of the Library is not our building, our collections or our heritage but our Members. In what will be a challenging period for all of us, our thoughts are with you and we sincerely hope that you stay in good health and spirits. We look forward to seeing you in person once this current situation passes. Until then we promise that we will keep in contact with you and whether it’s on the phone (tel. 0113 245 3071) by email (enquiries@theleedslibrary.
Please take care
Martin Staniforth (Chair) & Carl Hutton (Chief Executive)
On behalf of everyone at The Leeds Library