Libraries are set to reopen as use of their online services doubles

Suffolk Libraries will be offering some limited services from their buildings next week

Suffolk Libraries will be offering some limited services from their buildings next week - Credit: GETTY IMAGES

Libraries across Suffolk will partially reopen next week after being closed for six weeks during the current lockdown for safety reasons.

With infection rates now much lower in the county, Suffolk Libraries has decided that from Monday, February 15 the Select and Collect service and reservations will resume so that people can request and pick up items from their library.

Not every library will open at once and people are advised to check their branch details on the Suffolk Libraries website as full dates and details are currently being finalised.

Felixstowe Library

Felixstowe Library. Most library buildings will reopen for some services next week - Credit: RICHARD CORNWELL

Newmarket, Elmswell and Lakenheath libraries will remain closed for now due to building work at these libraries.

A Suffolk Libraries spokesman said: "We’d like to reassure customers that there will be no rush to bring items back as the return date for current loans has been extended until 1 March. All new library loans from next week will be given an extended six-week return date.

"Browsing inside libraries and the use of computers will remain unavailable for the time being. The mobile library services and home library service will also remain suspended for now."

During the lockdown libraries have been encouraging bookworms to use their online platform - and with huge success.

The highest ever number of online applications to join the library service were recorded during January with nearly 600 people signing up for a library card.

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There have also been record figures for eLibrary borrowing over the first month of the year. Nearly 3,300 people used the Overdrive eBook service during the week of January 25, downloading over 8,000 books.

These weekly figures have doubled since March 2020 and have been rising since Christmas.

It was a record week for the BorrowBox eAudiobook service too with over 1,000 customers downloading over 1,600 titles. The number of people using the Pressreader online newspaper and magazine service has also been increasing since Christmas.

Bruce Leeke, chief executive of Suffolk Libraries

Bruce Leeke, chief executive of Suffolk Libraries - Credit: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Bruce Leeke, chief executive of Suffolk Libraries, said: “Even more people are using our eLibrary services and engaging with us than during the first lockdown. These figures show there is a huge demand for information, entertainment and other ways of maintaining wellbeing in these challenging times and they fulfil the dual role of keeping people safe at home too."