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A LOCAL book lover has criticised Wiltshire Council for its delay in reopening libraries in the county.
Wiltshire Council has earmarked early August as a possible date for reopening some of its libraries – despite government guidance allowing libraries to reopen from 4th July.
The council is also currently running a public consultation until 26th July about how libraries can be opened safely – a step that local resident Vanessa Johnson says is unnecessary.
In a letter to Wiltshire Council, Vanessa said, “As an avid reader and constant user of library services I feel compelled to make my feelings known after having read the plans for reopening libraries in Wiltshire. If you need evidence of my love for the library service and books in particular, let me tell you – I have read 23 books during my furloughed period!
“The value to the public, both young and old is immeasurable, from improving literacy in all age groups to just giving everyone the chance to learn and gain knowledge.
“We don’t need a survey on how to reopen safely! We all have a responsibility to each other and social distancing can be put into place, I would think, fairly easily. Stop wasting time and money and just getting on with it! These services should be open from 4th July along with other “non essential ” businesses. The proposal, I believe says for a trial period of six months from August, that’s a further month and more away and only includes a small number of libraries.
“Everyone in Wiltshire, and indeed everywhere, deserves a decent library service provided by money we pay to our local authority. Wiltshire Council has a duty to provide this.
“If people don’t stand up and be counted on this then I believe the government will use Covi-19 as an opportunity to reduce library services all over the UK. Don’t contribute to that!”
Three options for the reopening of Wiltshire’s libraries are being consulted on – an order and collect service, which would involve customers contacting the library service by email/phone to request books or other materials that they wish to borrow; an order and collect service and an additional service to allow residents without access to the internet the option to pre-book a computer session; and a socially distanced service offering the public some access to browse stock and use computers.
Whilst Wiltshire Council libraries remain closed, a number of services remain available online. More information can be found on the website: www.wiltshire.gov.uk/libraries-online-resources.