Northern Ireland

Coronavirus: Contactless collection at 90 NI libraries from July 20

Libraries
Image caption Some 90 libraries will begin offering a reserve and collect service from 20 July to customers.

Plans are in place to begin reopening Northern Ireland's libraries as part of a pilot scheme announced by Libraries NI.

A "book and collect service" will be offered to customers by 90 libraries from 20 July.

People will be able to order a collection of books via telephone and arrange for contactless collection.

All libraries in Northern Ireland closed on 20 March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Also as part of the pilot scheme, five libraries will fully reopen for book browsing and limited IT access at the end of the month.

Image caption Libraries NI is now asking customers to return their previously borrowed books.

Omagh library and Lisburn City library will reopen on 21 July and Bangor Carnegie, Derry Central and Belfast Central will reopen on 23 July.

Libraries NI said the pilot scheme would test how to keep customers and staff safe while learning how to reopen other local libraries as soon as possible.

The number of people allowed in at any one time will be limited and customers will be asked to limit browsing to 30 minutes.

In order to prevent the spread of coronavirus, returned books will also be stored for a period of time in each library before being returned to the shelves.

With preparations now in place for reopening Libraries NI has asked customers to return books they loaned before lockdown, with collection times available on their website.

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