Q&As on the Reopening of the Leeds Library for Members – 02/07/20

The information set out here is to help you understand how the Library will operate for Members when we reopen on Monday 6th July so that you are aware of any restrictions that might be in place when you are planning and undertaking your visit to the Library. We thought the best way to do this was to answer the most likely questions that you may have at this time.

What will the Opening Hours of the Library be?

The Library will be open:

Monday       11am to 3pm

Tuesday      11am to 3pm

Wednesday 11am to 3pm

Thursday     2pm to 6pm

Friday          11am to 3pm

Saturday     11am to 3pm

Sunday       Closed

Why will the Library be open for only 4 hours each day?

The opening hours have been reduced to limit the need for staff or Members to travel into or out of Leeds during rush hours.

I don’t want to come into the Library just yet, but I have items that are due for return.  What should I do?

We have extended the loan period of all items currently on loan to Members until the end of August so please do not feel obliged to bring your items in if you would rather not travel yet.  However, if you would like to return them, you, or someone on your behalf, can drop them off in the Library foyer in a returns box. The foyer will be staffed during opening hours and all items will be quarantined for 3 full days before being processed and put back on the shelves for other Members to access.

I am feeling unwell. Should I come to the Library?

No. If you are feeling unwell for any reason and especially if you are exhibiting symptoms of Covid-19, you should not come to the Library but follow government guidelines and seek medical advice if appropriate. This is to protect other Members and the staff team. We are sorry to say, we will have to turn you away if you are obviously unwell.

Will there be restrictions on the number of people who can use the Library each day?  If so, do I have to register or pre-book my visit if I want to come into the Library?

Following current social distancing guidance from the Government, we are working on the basis that excluding staff Members, we will be able to have up to 40 Members in the Library at any one time, with seating for this number placed in appropriate locations throughout the Library building. With 60-80 Members visiting the Library on average on any normal day it may be that from time to time the Library reaches full capacity. However, the times when 40 Members are in the Library at any one time is rare.

To give Members who wish to visit the Library some peace of mind, we will have up to 20 pre-bookable slots each day, so that upon arrival at the Library there is no danger of being turned away due to lack of space. This will mean that sometimes Members who arrive at the Library and who haven’t pre-booked may have to wait until a Member leaves the Library in order for them to be able to enter. Members can pre-book a space through the events page on our website using Eventbrite or by phoning the Library counter during opening hours.

All Members will need to register on arrival in the foyer so that we have a record of who has been in the Library each day in case a Member or a staff member contracts Covid-19 and it is necessary to trace their contacts. This information will be held for 21 days then destroyed. Staff in the foyer will assist you with this.

Will there be any restrictions on how long Members can stay in the Library?

We are not putting any formal time limits in place but would ask that Members judge the daily situation for themselves in a sensible and fair way. If the Library is busy and there are Members waiting to gain access, then a shorter visit would be appreciated so that everyone who wants to can benefit from coming to the Library. If problems arise from this more relaxed approach, we will review the situation and may introduce a formal time limit. We would like very much to avoid doing this, however.

Will there be any parts of the Library, or services normally available to Members, that will not be available at this time?

For the Library to work in a manner that is consistent with Government guidelines regarding Covid-19 and social distancing, the following aspects of the Library service to Members will NOT be available:

  • Drinks making facilities will not be available in Coffee Corner. However, Members will be allowed to bring their own drinks into the Library using their own receptacles.
  • Food consumption on the premises by Members will not be permitted in this initial reopening period.
  • The Basement and the Librarians Office will not be available.
  • The Library locker and cloakroom areas will be closed.
  • The Member computers will not be available to use and the use of the photocopier will only be available when undertaken on behalf of a Member by one of the Library staff team.
  • Magazines and Journals will be available to borrow but not to browse and newspapers will not be available Please note that to compensate for this we have arranged for all Members to be able to use the online PressReader service that gives access to over 6000 magazine and newspaper titles for an initial 3 month period as part of their Membership at no additional cost. See the PressReader article in this newsletter for details.
  • Member Clubs including the Film Club, Craft Club, Book Club and Reading Group will not take place in person for the time being but will be reviewed as social distancing measures are relaxed.
  • There will be no facilities for leaving bicycles or mobility scooters in the foyer.

What social distancing measures will be in place within the Library?

The Library will have a one-way system for all Library users to abide by. The direction of travel will be anti-clockwise requiring everyone to walk from the Main Room towards the New Room and then the Thoresby Room.  In any area of the Library where there may be a need for Members to queue there will be markings on the floor clearly laying out the position that each person in a queue needs to take.  It is anticipated that queueing may be necessary to get into the Library, at the Library counter and to use the Library welfare facilities.

We have also adjusted the layout of the Library to remove potential pinch points.  This will mean that there will be no merchandise on display for either the Library or Thoresby Society and the used books sale trolleys will be removed.  We will also be looking to reposition the New Room map cabinets and remove any chairs that do not comply with social distancing guidance.

Will toilet facilities be fully open for Members to use when the building is open?

Both the gents and ladies’ toilets will be open for Members. There will be a restriction of only one Member at a time being able to use the ladies’ toilets, with one of those cubicles being dedicated solely for the use of Library Staff.   It will be a requirement of anyone using the toilet facilities to use disposable toilet seat covers.

What additional hygiene facilities and measures will be put in place for users of the Library?

Any person entering the Library will be required to use hand sanitiser in the foyer before going upstairs. There can be no exceptions to this. There will be also be hand sanitiser located at the entrance to each room when moving around the Library anti-clockwise. It is recommended that if you have handled any items or touched any surfaces as you enter each space that you reapply hand sanitiser.

Should a Member handle any book in the Library then there will be a need for the item to be placed in one of the plastic crates located in each of the rooms so that the item can be placed in quarantine for a 3 day period.

On a similar basis there will also be a need for Members who sit on a chair in the Library to use a card provided adjacent to the chair to identify that the chair has been used.  This will enable the staff team to be able to easily identify which chairs and furniture needs to be sanitised during the day. As well as the regular cleaning that takes place in the Library outside of opening hours, additional cleaning will take place while the Library is open. Surfaces, door handles and other vulnerable areas will be sanitised regularly during the day.

Doors and windows where possible will be open to aid ventilation.

Will Members be required to wear face masks or face coverings when visiting the Library?

Whilst the staff team working in the Library will be wearing face visors and gloves when serving Members, this will not be obligatory for Members, but you are, of course, free to wear them if you wish.  Screens will be in place at the counter and in the foyer to minimise the potential for Covid-19 to be spread.

If I am unable at this time to come to the Library, what services will be available for me to use so that I can continue to benefit from my Membership?

The Library is committed to continuing and extending its postal loan service, eBook library, online community forum and online events programme. In addition, we are now able to give all Members the opportunity to access PressReader which will allow you to view over 6000 magazine and newspaper titles at no extra cost.

When will these measures be reviewed?

The staff team and Trustees will monitor all aspects of the operation of the Library on a regular basis and will adjust the current arrangements in the light of experience. We will look to extend the range of services available for Members to use and our operating hours at the earliest opportunity that any changes in social distancing legislation and Government advice allows. We will send out more information shortly about Membership extension for the period of lockdown and our closure. We will keep you informed regularly through Member communications and update the Q&As in response to Members’ queries.

Events at The Leeds Library