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Three libraries, which were closed on Tuesday 17 March as part of the national lockdown, are to  re-open as the city’s coronavirus recovery plan continues.

Portsmouth City Council has successfully re-opened Central, Southsea, North End, Beddow Library and the Mobile Library service.  Cosham Library is currently closed for major refurbishment and will reopen in April. Continuing to reopen the libraries will support residents of all ages across Portsmouth.

  • Carnegie library reopens 8 December and is open Mon to Wed and Fri 0930-1700. Closed on Thursday.
  • Paulsgrove library reopens 9 December and is open Mon, Wed to Fri 0930-1700. Closed on Tuesday.
  • Alderman Lacey reopens 10 December and is open Mon, Tue, Thu, Fri 0930-1700. Closed on Wednesday.

Depending on government guidance it is hoped these libraries will also re-open on a Saturday in the New Year.

At the re-opened libraries residents can return, browse and borrow items and use computers and enquiry services. They can also buy visitor parking permits at all open library branches.

Returning safely to libraries looks a little different with the measures put in place for the safety of staff and customers, following Government guidance. Social distancing will be in place and visitors will be required to wear a face covering while in the library. There is reduced access to public computers with limited time and staff support.

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, and using hand sanitisers which are provided in every library.

Books that are returned will be quarantined before being returned to shelves. Loan periods for books and other items have been extended and Portsmouth Libraries do not charge fines for the late return of items. Any payments for parking permits, printing and photocopying will be by card only. Customer reservations are reinstated so that library members can request items held in any of the open libraries for free and pick them up at their local open branch.

Cllr Pitt, Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Economic Development & Deputy Leader, said:

“I know how important libraries are for residents in our city and I am pleased to see the reopening continue and that in the New Year more libraries will be open on Saturdays. It’s up to all of us to keep libraries Covid-secure by following the safety guidance and during these difficult times being kind and considerate to each other.”

Unfortunately, library events such as Rhymetimes and children’s holiday activities will not be able to take place in libraries until further notice. In the meantime, look out for events and activities posted on the Official Portsmouth Libraries Facebook page.

For more information on library services, residents can email or call 023 9281 9311. More information is also available on our coronavirus webpages and residents can receive the latest information by signing up to our Coronavirus bulletin.