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Phased reopening of Borders libraries to begin in July

Libraries across the Scottish Borders will open their doors once again in July as part of an accelerated reopening plan.

Four libraries across Galashiels, Hawick, Eyemouth and Peebles will reopen on a phased basis with limited opening hours to measure public demand for the services.

Galashiels library will open on the 5 July, Hawick will re-open on 12 July, Eyemouth on 21 July and finally the Library and Tweeddale museum (Peebles) will reopen on 26 July.

The facilities at Galashiels, Hawick and Peebles will initially open for 10 hours a week with Eyemouth opening for a total of 7 hours. These will be reviewed on an ongoing basis as communities begin to re-engage with face-to-face library services.

Full details, including opening hours of the sites, can be accessed at www.liveborders.org.uk/culture/libraries/our-libraries

Members of the public will have the opportunity to browse and borrow books and access digital facilities including PCs and printers.

A pre-booking system, which will go live seven days before re-opening, will be in place for all libraries.
Visits will be limited to twenty-minute slots to allow as many users as possible to access the service, whilst the wearing of masks will be required in all the buildings.

A pre-booking system will also be in place for use of computers and the printer/photocopying facilities. Users can pre-book online, or can telephone library staff on who will make the booking on their behalf.
The ‘Get Into Summer’ programme will support activities around the reduced opening hours of the libraries, and there will be a programme of activities such as Bookbug events for early years children at alternative venues while libraries open up more fully.

All other activities including book groups will continue to take place online, whilst room bookings for meetings and group activity will not start again until August.

Public library services that have continued to operate throughout the pandemic, including the mobile and Connect & Collect services, will continue to serve all main towns across the region as SBC and Live Borders work towards a plan for full reopening of library facilities in August.

Ewan Jackson, Live Borders Chief Executive, said: “I know how important it is to ensure that we get as many people as possible to connect safely with the possibilities and opportunities that reading and wider library services can bring. I am delighted we are now able to accelerate the reopening of the four libraries.

“Our digital, mobile library and Connect & Collect services have played an extremely important part over the course of the pandemic in helping people stay connected and I’m delighted that we are now able to welcome members of the public back in person.”

Councillor Euan Jardine, Executive Member for Wellbeing, Sport and Culture, said: “The pandemic has outlined the importance of facilities like libraries as a vital community hub for people of all ages.

“They act as a focal point within our communities, offering access to a wide variety of vital services like books and computers and this announcement comes as welcome news.

“Libraries have a significant part to play as our communities begin to recover post-pandemic and their gradual reopening is an important first step in a return to normality.”

The remaining libraries situated across the Borders, including Council Contact Centres and integrated Library Contact Centres, are scheduled to reopen in August in line with the Council’s original recovery plan.

Contact Centres and integrated Library Contact Centres will continue to operate via telephone and online, with emergency face to face contact accommodated when necessary.