Three major public libraries are to reopen on 6 July, Portsmouth City Council announced today.
Central, Southsea and North End libraries will be open Monday to Friday from 9.30am to 5pm, along with the mobile library service. Portsmouth History Centre, at Central Library, will also be open.
Residents will be able to return, browse and borrow items and use enquiry services. They can also buy visitor parking permits at Central, Southsea and North End Libraries.
To meet coronavirus safety standards, cleaning stations will be provided and staff and public will be expected to follow social-distancing guidelines. A limited number of computers will be available to use at each library, with access limited to one hour a day per person if other customers are waiting.
So fewer people need to handle reference books, a new email enquiry service will start on 6 July. Residents can email email@example.com and find out information they need for study, research or casual enquiry.
Cllr Steve Pitt, the council's Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Economic Development, said: "It's great to be able to open up these buildings to residents once again. We know how much libraries have been missed.
"We've been working on a plan to re-open when the government gave the go-ahead and in a way that maintains safety.
"We need to get social distancing measures in place and working smoothly at the first three libraries before we reopen the other branches. Staff availability is also an issue.
"When the first three are open, there will be coverage of the south, centre and north of the city, and the mobile library can cover other areas.
"We'll open the other branches as soon as we can."
Online library services are available to residents at home, by using a computer, tablet or smartphone. You can download books, comics and newspapers and listen to music – all for free. There's more information at www.portsmouth.gov.uk/freefun
The home-delivery library service, aimed at helping vulnerable people during the pandemic, is still operating, too. The service, run with HIVE Portsmouth, can deliver books, DVDs, and games for adults and children. The number to call is 023 9261 6709.
For more information on library services, residents can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 023 9281 9311.
Mobile library schedule:
9.30am-12.30pm: Drayton Lane / Havant Road
1.30pm-4.30pm: Victory School and Ludlow Road, Paulsgrove
(9.30am-12.30pm: Individual deliveries)
1.30pm-4.30pm: Fort Cumberland Road, Eastney
9.30am-12.30pm: London Road (opposite Amberley Road)
1.30pm-4.30pm: Mayfield Road / Copnor Road
9.30am-12.30pm: Sainsbury’s, Farlington
1.30pm-4.30pm: Morrison’s, Anchorage Park
9.30am-12.30pm: Mayfield Road / Copnor Road
1.30pm-4.30pm: Canoe Lake