Time to turn the page on lockdown as community libraries across Sheffield get ready to welcome readers back
After months of lockdown, Sheffield community libraries are planning to reopen from April 12, with residents saying they ‘can’t wait’ to browse the shelves once more.
As part of the Government’s roadmap, libraries in Sheffield will be allowed to reopen from April 12 with safety measures in place, including monitoring capacity.
Some community libraries have already been using a ‘click and collect’ servicing, allowing residents to order a book for collection online, whilst many others have not been open at all.
A number of them, including Totley Library, will reopen for ‘limited browsing’ in April, and people are ‘very excited’ to step foot in the library once more.
Norman Role, chair at Totley Community Research and Information Centre, said: “We reopened for order and collect, and our plan from April 12, if we are allowed, will be to open for limited browsing
"Our numbers will be strictly controlled, and social distancing will be forced throughout but people will be welcome in for browsing in 15 minute sessions.
"Throughout the closure period we got comments saying, ‘we can’t wat for you to open.’ I think everybody is very excited about the fact we can open our doors again.
"I think people are desperate to get the books and desperate to get out.”
Totley Library will be open for three two-hour sessions a week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and there will be limited computer facilities.
Greenhill Community Library will also open Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoons between 2pm and 4pm from April 12 for browsing, as well as weekend family sessions.
Chris Brown, chair of Greenhill Community Library, said: “We will also be doing pre-booked family sessions on a Saturday morning, because so far children haven’t been let back in and we don’t like leaving the children out.
"I know that the council libraries haven’t been open for browsing, but we have for periods in the last year. We will do a drive-through experience, where people are encouraged to come in, choose their books, and go away again.
"We have had people come in and say, ‘I am so glad you are carrying on doing this’, and when we are open we had people come in saying how grateful they were.
"It’s not just the book lending, it’s all the other events. We had a varied programme of events, like kids clubs and coffee mornings, so it was the social side too.
The Greenhill Community Library even set up a smaller, branch library in Lowedges in 2020 – but the opening party on March 21 came just as the nation went into lockdown, and have been unable to open it since.
There are plans, however, to open the smaller site in a former Terminus Cafe building in May, as well as hosting events on the lawn outside the Greenhill library, such as a scarecrow competition.
Ecclesfield library will also reopen for in April and Stannington in May.