Awen, in partnership with Bridgend County Borough Council, has started the process of repurposing libraries with the launch of a new ‘book and collect’ service from Monday 15 June.
Initially operating from Pyle Library, library members will be able to request a package of books from a specific genre or interest, such as crime novels, picture books for toddlers and young adult fiction.
Loans of specific books from the online library catalogue will be limited by what is available on the library shelves at Pyle and the book reserve, however it may not be up to date, as returned books will not be put immediately back into circulation.
Library members will be required to call the library on 01656 754820 between 9.30am and 11am, Monday to Friday, to place their order. To help maintain safe social distancing, books will need must be collected at an agreed time slot.
Subject to a successful pilot run at Pyle, a second service point will open at Aberkenfig Library the following Monday, 22nd June. Members will be able to place an order between 9.30am and 11am, Monday to Friday, on 01656 754820.
There will be 36 pre-booked collection slots available per library, per day, and the number of loans may be capped due to stock levels, to ensure everyone has access. Books will be automatically renewed and there are no fines for overdue items.
To help reduce the risk of cross infection, all returned books will be quarantined for 72 hours, as advised by Welsh Government and Public Health Wales, before being returned to the library shelves.
Richard Hughes, Chief Executive of Awen Cultural Trust, the registered charity which manages the library service in Bridgend County Borough on behalf of the local authority, said:
“Our ‘book and collect’ service is the first step towards the reopening of our libraries. It will be a phased process, as the safety of our staff and borrowers remains our top priority, and based on local priorities of need.
“Like other businesses and services at this time, we are doing what we can to adapt. We hope this service will allow people to access resources to work, study, educate or entertain their children at home, and for their own enjoyment and wellbeing.
“We realise that our most vulnerable and housebound members may not be able to physically access the libraries at this time, so we are also developing plans to resume our Books on Wheels service, to deliver books directly to their front door.”
Cllr Dhanisha Patel, Cabinet Member for Wellbeing, said: “The Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic has had a huge impact on local services, and I’d like to thank residents for their continuing patience and co-operation as we work with our partners to find new ways of providing them as safely and as efficiently as possible.”
The ‘book and collect’ service is restricted to library members only. Anyone who is not a member can join for free through the Awen Libraries website: http://www.awen-libraries.com/joining-the-library/