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29 July 2020

Three biggest libraries to open next week

"We are making a careful phased return of some services during the pandemic and that's to ensure the safety of our staff and the public, while making the best use of our current resources and finances."

Cllr Ian Blair-Pilling, Cabinet Member for Libraries

Following a recent Wiltshire Council public consultation on reopening some library services during the COVID-19 pandemic, the libraries in Chippenham, Salisbury and Trowbridge will open their doors to the public, for the first time since 20 March, next week.

Trowbridge Library will open from 3 August, and Chippenham and Salisbury Library on 4 August, with safety measures in place to ensure social distancing to keep people as safe as possible.

These libraries will be fully reopened for people to browse for a certain amount of time, to select and loan books and use the computers.

More than 7,000 people took part in a consultation on how the council could reopen library services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In looking through the feedback throughout the duration of the consultation, it was quickly apparent that people are keen for some libraries to reopen as soon as possible. Therefore the council will open three of Wiltshire's biggest libraries first, with more expected to follow in due course.

  • Here's the key information customers need to know:
    Opening hours will be:
           - Trowbridge - Monday, Thursday and Saturday 10am 1pm and 2pm 4pm .
           - Chippenham & Salisbury - Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday - 10am 1pm and 2pm 4pm.
  • Loan items continue to be renewed automatically, currently to the end of September, so there is no rush to return items
  • People can attend one of these libraries and browse for up to 30 minutes
  • People are advised to be sensible and not pick up and put back lots of books
  • Social distancing measures will be in place, with clear signage
  • Hand sanitiser will be available at each library
  • Depending on how many people are using the library, people may have to queue outside upon arrival
  • Computers in the libraries can be used for 45 minutes, but people must book them in advance. They can be booked by phoning the relevant library during their opening hours
  • People should bring their library cards
  • Returned books will be stored for 72 hours before being put back on shelves
  • Screens will be in place at main customer service desk
  • People will be asked to provide contact details as part of the COVID-19 test and trace system. Details will be handled in accordance with GDPR law

The following will not be available at the three libraries for the time being:

  • Toilet facilities
  • Group activities such as book clubs and rhyme time sessions
  • Newspapers and magazines
  • Reservation service

The online library content, which has proven to be hugely popular over the lockdown period, will continue. So far, there has been more than 100,000 views of library videos, such as rhyme and story time, since March.

Cllr Ian Blair-Pilling, Cabinet Member for Libraries, said: "We thank the thousands of people for taking time out to respond to our consultation, which shows huge and passionate support for our libraries. It was clear that people wanted some libraries to reopen so we're working hard to get three of our biggest ones ready and safe for people to visit.

"We are making a careful phased return of some services during the pandemic and that's to ensure the safety of our staff and the public, while making the best use of our current resources and finances. We'll have more details soon on the other services and libraries returning, but in the meantime, we're looking forward to welcoming people back and seeing some of our libraries once again become a focal point in their local communities."

More information about the continued reopening of some library services during the COVID-19 pandemic will be confirmed in due course.

More information about library services can be found on our library pages.

FAQs - Libraries reopening during COVID-19 pandemic

The opening hours are:
Trowbridge (open from 3 August) - Monday, Thursday and Saturday 10am – 1pm and 2pm – 4pm . 
Chippenham & Salisbury (open from 4 August) - Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday - 10am – 1pm and  2pm – 4pm.
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It was clear from the consultation that people wanted some libraries open as soon as possible, therefore we have decided to open three of our biggest ones first. Given our resources, finances and the measures in place, it’s important we reopen services during the pandemic in a careful and phased way to ensure they are as safe as possible for our staff and visitors. By opening these three first it will provide a good opportunity to assess the effectiveness of our reopening plan and use that experience when reopening more services and libraries. 

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There are 33 libraries in Wiltshire, including mobile libraries, and due to our current resources and finances, it won’t be possible to run all those services during the COVID-19 pandemic, but we’ll still be aiming to provide an innovative and vibrant service to people. We will likely run a reduced service for six months and there will be regular reviews in between to see how effective this is.

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No. We have made these changes to ensure we can provide some library services safely during the COVID-19 pandemic. We will regularly review the service and make changes as appropriate.
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This will enable different people to be able to access the library as we are limited on how many people can visit at any one time. The number of people that can be in a library at one time will vary by library.

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Given current COVID-19 social distancing measures and our current resources and financial pressures, it means we aren’t currently in a position to offer the same service as before. However, we are working hard to ensure some library services are available during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the meantime, our libraries service has a range of online resources. 


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You will be asked to provide details but it’s not compulsory for you to provide them. However, we’d recommend you provide your details if possible, as this will help us respond to any potential local outbreak as effectively as possible. Details will be handled in accordance with GDPR laws.

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It is not mandatory to wear face coverings in libraries. The current government guidance states you must wear face coverings on public transport and in shops and supermarkets. It is your personal choice whether you wish to wear a face covering in a library.

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Yes. As we’re not in a position to hold group events we will continue to provide online videos. These have proven to be incredibly popular and our staff have enjoyed making them. 

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We have to manage our resources carefully and are not currently in a position to be able to regularly clean toilets as would be required. We hope toilet facilities can be made available again soon.

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Yes but be mindful that attending with other people may increase the chance of you having to wait to enter.

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It makes the job of our staff more straightforward if you bring you library card to loan books etc, it therefore means they can serve more customers and limits the time people are in direct contact with each other. 

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Here are the numbers to book computers during the libraries’ opening hours:

Trowbridge – 01225 716700

Salisbury – 01722 324145

Chippenham – 01249 650536

The opening hours are:
Trowbridge - Monday, Thursday and Saturday 10am – 1pm and 2pm – 4pm . 
Chippenham & Salisbury - Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday - 10am – 1pm and  2pm – 4pm.
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Last updated: 29 July 2020 | Last reviewed: 29 July 2020

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