Libraries to reopen – by appointment

Brixton library
Brixton library

Brixton and other Lambeth libraries will partially re-open from Monday 20 July.

They will be open from 11am to 4pm from Monday to Saturday. Visits will be by appointment only, but you can return books without an appointment.

The Home Library Service will contact readers to confirm arrangements for doorstep-only deliveries to start in the following week.

The Holiday Hunger Programme with takeaway activities and food will be delivered by appointment.

The Summer Reading Challenge for Lambeth children will begin. Pre-selected books and materials can be collected by appointment by children accompanied by adults.

The council said the appointment system is necessary to maintain social distancing and keep both staff and visitors safe. Appointments can be made by phone or online.

Brixton, Carnegie, Clapham, Durning, Tate South Lambeth, Streatham, West Norwood and the Lambeth Archives will re-open. The borough’s other three libraries, Waterloo, Upper Norwood and Minet, are due to open a little later.

You will be able to select and collect books that you have requested from a library’s catalogue or librarians have selected based on your personal tastes.

You will be able to use computers by appointment as well as printing, scanning and photocopying.

Regular events like Wriggle and Rhyme, reading groups and ESOL classes will continue online.

Toilets will only be available for people with disabilities and for use in emergency. 

Children are normally allowed to use the library by themselves if they are over eight, but, to begin with, children under 12 years old must be accompanied by an adult.

The government has said that libraries restoration of library services “will take place in a phased way, varying according to local needs and circumstances”.

A Lambeth council report outlines the proposed phases for the borough’s libraries and archives, with the first phase beginning on Monday 20 July.

Reconfiguring library buildings, improving cleaning and security, and measures to avoid the spread of Covid-19 to protect public and staff, will cost the council an initial £32,800 with ongoing costs for the rest of the current financial year of £165,200 – a total of £198,000.

The second phase is anticipated to begin from mid-August. This would see Minet, Waterloo and Upper Norwood Libraries opening using an appointments system.

Some study spaces and desks for wifi use would be available at the libraries that opened in July. 

One-to-one advice sessions for digital help, careers advice would restart by appointment.

Phase 3, to take place at an unspecified time, would allow controlled browsing of shelves by members of the public and a relaxation in the appointments system, but with social distancing maintained.

Phase 4 would see the resumption of full service in Lambeth’s libraries.

Lambeth libraries website