Havering’s libraries will begin to reopen from Monday 12 April as government restrictions lift.
The service will re-open as a full ‘browse and borrow’ service starting with Harold Hill, Upminster, Hornchurch (located on the upper floor), Rainham, Central Library on 12 April and Gidea Park and South Hornchurch libraries opening from 14 April.
Opening time will vary, and can be found on the libraries page on our website.
Elm Park, Harold Wood, and Collier Row libraries will remain as rapid testing sites for those without COVID-19 symptoms and will not be open as libraries while the Council finds alternative local sites, with these libraries intending to reopen from mid-May.
Home testing kits will be available for collection in all open libraries. If you need to book a rapid COVID-19 test at the remaining sites, you can do so by visiting www.havering.gov.uk/covid19testing.
Libraries will have revised opening hours, with plans to return to normal hours as the government roadmap continues.
Returning safely to libraries will continue to mean some changes in how libraries operate. This includes limiting the number of people who can enter and library staff wearing personal protective equipment to ensure their safety.
Library users will be asked for their contact details to support NHS Test and Trace and will need to try to keep 2m apart for social distancing, follow the one-way systems in place, to use hand sanitisers, which are in every library.
They will also be asked to wear face coverings in line with government advice.
Because a large number of books were borrowed in the run-up to libraries closing, residents are asked to be patient and be prepared to queue as the service may become busy if many people return all their books at once and libraries will be operating on reduced capacities.
- Access to public computers will resume with limited access, time and staff support.
- Books that are returned will be quarantined before being returned to shelves.
- Study space will be available in those libraries which have the capacity to do so with limited study spaces.
- Orange recycling sacks will be available to pick up in all libraries.
- Fines for late return of books remain suspended and no cash will be taken, printing and photocopying will be by card payments only.
- Unfortunately library activities such as knit and natter and baby bounce will not be able to take place in libraries until further notice however we are continuing to hold these and other events like Book Clubs and Poetry groups online via Zoom. Further information can be found at https://www.havering.gov.uk/events/20039/libraries
- Library meeting space will be out of use and no bookings will be taken.
Councillor Damian White, Leader of Havering Council, said:
“Our libraries have played a vital role in the COVID-19 response by operating as rapid testing sites for people across the borough. I’d like to thank staff who have helped operate these sites, as well as library workers who have continued to play a pivotal role in the crisis
“I know how important libraries are for our borough and I am proud that we can re-open a safe service in COVID-secure buildings as we continue to follow the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown.
“Although opening hours will be limited at first, we will open for longer when we can and this administration has invested to provide for a six-day a week library service right across the borough as soon as we can safely do so.”