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Libraries Update – 25 August 2020

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Welcome back to libraries!

Lancing Library reopenIt has been wonderful to see so many of you return to libraries since we reopened last week during our temporary opening hours. On the first Monday alone, over 4,000 items were borrowed (and some libraries weren’t even open until the following day!) You can add to that number by having up to 20 items on your library card at a time.

The return of access to IT has also proved popular. If computers and printing are services you need to use, take a look at our customer charter for Computer Use. In particular:

  • Call your local library in advance to book a one-hour slot
  • Wear your face covering throughout the session
  • Staff are unable to support you on the computers… but there may be someone who can help! Find out more below.

Computer help from afar

Computer user with maskDue to social distancing guidelines, library staff are currently unable to offer support to customers who are using our library computers and printing facilities.

However, did you know that a fantastic team of Digital Volunteers has been helping residents behind the scenes during lockdown? If you need support with a basic digital query, either from home or in the library during your pre-booked computer session, we can arrange for a volunteer to give you remote help via telephone.

Our helpline is open Monday – Friday 10.00am – 4.00pm on 0330 222 3455 or you can leave a voicemail outside of these times. Alternatively, reach us via email at library.digital.support@westsussex.gov.uk.

We will need to set up your appointment with a Digital Volunteer in advance, so please get in contact at least three days prior to your library booking.


Thank you for your support during our reopening week

We want to say a really big thank you to all customers who helped us in our first week of being open for browsing. Our ‘new normal’ involves doing things quite differently, so your patience and understanding is appreciated as we all become familiar with these new ways of working.

Wearing a maskWe would like to remind customers that wearing a face covering while in the library is required by law and it must be worn for your entire visit, including when using a computer.

If you are exempt from wearing a face covering, it will really help library staff if you carry an exemption badge or card. You can download these for free. Please do not be offended when we check with you (and we will check every time you visit, to help keep everyone in the library safe).

Washing your handsPublic Health guidance is for all of us to wash our hands or use sanitiser regularly, and we are asking all library visitors to use sanitiser on arrival. Library staff will be available to show you where the sanitiser station is. Please help us keep everyone in the library safe by using this on your way in.

All councils are supporting the voluntary NHS Test and Trace service. When you arrive at the library, staff will show you where the Test and Trace station is so you can leave your contact details if you choose to. Information provided will be kept for 21 days and then destroyed. It will only be shared with the NHS Test and Trace service.


Latest news from the Summer Reading Challenge

Silly Squad certificate and medalsIt’s been fantastic to see the enthusiasm of families visiting their local library this past week, able to browse and choose their own books at last.

It’s not too late if your children want to join the Summer Reading Challenge; you can even pick up a Silly Squad wallet and stickers to take away with your books. We also now have medals and certificates, so if your children have been sharing stories for Silly Squad, celebrate their achievements by asking for one of each at your local library. Watch our Silly Squad video to find out more.

Sadly we can’t engage in those lovely conversations with the children about their books this year, but we can at least offer our congratulations to all those who have been enjoying reading over the summer. What a boost it will give them to start back at school with a medal and certificate to show for all their reading!


Join us on Lesley Pearse’s online book tour

Lesley Pearse online tourWe have some exciting news… We’ll be hosting bestselling author Lesley Pearse on her forthcoming virtual tour in September!

We are delighted that readers across West Sussex will have the opportunity to hear Lesley talk all about her amazing career and new book, Liar. The event will take place over Zoom and you’ll even be able to submit questions.

Details of how to apply for a ticket will be shared soon. For now, keep 7.00pm on Thursday 17 September free so that you can be ready to pour yourself a cuppa and tune in for an entertaining evening with one of our best-loved authors.


Tom Palmer talks football and libraries

Tom Palmer on videoHave you read any of Tom Palmer’s books? We have access to three inspiring videos that this popular children’s author has kindly produced for libraries.

He talks about how his love of football and reading developed, later influencing him as a writer. There are games and quizzes to play, too!

We shared Tom’s first video in our Facebook Family Corner at the weekend. Do take a look and keep an eye out for the other two – coming soon. It seems his achievements are all down to his mum (and his local library of course)!


The archives are open again for business

Archives search roomAfter months of being closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak, West Sussex Record Office in Chichester has reopened its doors to the public.

The Searchroom is open two days a week for pre-booked appointments only, with the aim of increasing opening hours over time. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays there will be slots available either in the morning (9.30am-12.00pm) or afternoon (2.00pm-4.30pm).

Over the past few weeks, staff have been preparing to deliver a service that will be safe for visitors and have been looking forward to welcoming you back.

The Record Office has also launched the new Archives Card and visitors will need to obtain one if they wish to view original documents and maps. To arrange an appointment and find out how to obtain an Archives Card, please email the Record Office.


Keeping in touch

Children using tabletYou can connect with us on social media if you have any questions or comments.

You can also contact us by email: county.libraries@westsussex.gov.uk