West Lothian libraries buck national trend to fully re-open

West Lothian is one of the few local council areas where the library service is fully open after a year of lockdowns.

Friday, 28th May 2021, 10:39 am
Updated Friday, 28th May 2021, 10:40 am
Appointments are limited based on the capacity at each library, to ensure the safety of staff and customers.

Ann Marie Vance told a meeting of the Culture and Leisure PDSP that, as of May 17, all 14 libraries in the county were now open- along with community museums. A library browsing appointment allows people to visit community museums housed in libraries or housed in the same buildings as libraries.

Mrs Vance told the meeting that partial re-opening of the service had started on April 26 with three libraries opening. She said feedback from customers shows “they are really delighted” to be back. The click and collect system set-up during the lockdowns has also remained in place and remains as popular but numbers returning through the doors are expected to climb as “confidence grows”, added Mrs Vance.

National media reports recently have suggested a less positive picture. The Scottish Library and Information Council said there was concern some services may never reopen. At the moment more than 120 across Scotland remain behind locked doors.

Photocopying, printing and hearing aid services have also resumed by appointment at all libraries. Appointments are limited based on the capacity at each library, to ensure the safety of staff and customers, with appropriate enhanced hygiene and physical distancing measures in place for each location.

Councillor Alison Adamson voiced concerns that some users may be worried that membership have lapsed during lockdown.

Mrs Vance assured her that any reminders on membership were simply to encourage users to contact staff to keep their details up to date on the system. Membership didn’t lapse in the sense that names were removed from the system unless a purge of lists took place-which only happens once in several years.

To book an appointment to browse or collect hearing aid batteries call or email the local library direct. Those attending appointments will be asked to come alone where possible, and advise if anyone, including children, are accompanying them. All customers will be asked to wear a mask unless exempt, follow the signage in the libraries to use the one-way systems in place, hand sanitise, socially distance and use the test and protect procedure.