RCT Libraries Update
Written by Gavin on 31st March 2021
Following the latest Welsh Government announcement, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council have confirmed that all of its Library branches have now returned to the same levels of service provision as before the latest lockdown period in Wales.
This means that people will be able to utilise the Order and Collect service, make use of public access PCs (available by appointment and for limited time periods of 50 minutes only), and use the photocopying facilities. In addition, the At Home and School Library services are also being provided from Rock Grounds; whilst a rota of Census advice sessions are also being held and these are available at branch libraries.
Providing the situation regarding COVID-19 continues to improve, Phase 2 of the re-opening will commence from Monday, 12th April, with the three Area libraries at Aberdare, Pontypridd (Llys Cadwyn) and Treorchy opening to the public to allow browsing, although this will strictly be permitted with extra public safety precautions in place.
All remaining branch libraries could then re-open from Monday, 26th April (Phase 3), with all Library services (including the Mobile Library and the e-Teens services) resuming at pre-COVID levels at a later date under Phase 4. Again, safety precautions will be in place to minimise the risk of transmission of COVID-19.
The Council hopes to see further progress in the journey towards offering an increased range of Library services over the coming weeks and months in recognition of the key role that Libraries can play in combating some of the negative social effects of lockdown and isolation, and the Council will communicate arrangements for these subsequent phases at the appropriate times in line with the latest guidance issued by the Welsh Government.
Phase 1: From the 29th March all Libraries to return to pre-lock down levels of service. All Library Branches to offer the following services:
- Order and Collect service
- Photocopying Service
- Sale of trade waste bags to resume
- Public access pc’s available by appointment and for limited time periods (50 minutes)
- Census advice sessions to be available in branch libraries as per rota agreed with the Good Things Foundation
- Community meeting rooms available under pre-arranged conditions for employment and education services
In addition to this the Council is also going to provide the following service from Rock Grounds:
- At Home service
- School Library service
Phase 2: From the 12th April the three Area libraries at Aberdare, Pontypridd (Llys Cadwyn) and Treorchy will open to the public to allow browsing with the following extra precautions being put into place.
- Order and Collect service.
- A maximum number of borrowers in the library at any one time. The maximum number of borrowers allowed into a library will vary from site to site and this number will be set prior to re-opening.
- All borrowers must wear a face mask (unless medical reasons prevent this) and sanitise their hands upon entering the building.
- Time within the library limited to 30 minutes and borrowers encouraged to use self-service kiosks where available.
- Procedures put in place for staff monitoring of social distancing.
- Perspex screens at points where face to face contact may occur.
- Seating/furniture to be removed
- Library shelving rearranged where possible to encourage social distancing and create one-way systems. If possible different entry and exit points to be used.
- Limited use of community meeting rooms will also be allowed.
- Use of the Reference areas to be allowed by appointment. One-hour sessions to be available and use limited to 2 persons. Any local history materials used to be quarantined for 72 hours.
- Reopen One4all under the same conditions as before lock down – Bookings by appointment only and payment kiosks not available
Phase 3: From the 26th April all remaining branch libraries to re-open as per the Area Libraries during phase 2.
Phase 4: All library services to resume and be provided at pre – Covid levels and opening hours to revert to original timetable. This will include the Mobile Library Service and the e-teens library at Treorchy. Progressing directly from Phase 3 to Phase 4 may not be possible if restrictions are lifted over an extended period and so the situation with regard Covid will be monitored at regular intervals and additional Phases of re-opening adopted if required.