COVID-19 brings changes to library, museum and one stop shop services in Warwickshire

Changes are taking place to library, museum and one stop shop services in Warwickshire as a result of the current COVID-19 outbreak, but core digital services will remain available to the public.

The Leamington Library building, which shares its location and public facilities with Leamington Art Gallery & Museum and the Leamington Pump Rooms, closed on Tuesday (17th March) and the Rugby Library building, which shares its location and public facilities with Rugby Art Gallery & Museum, has also closed today (Friday 20th March).

From Monday morning (23rd March), all Warwickshire Libraries sites will be closed to the public.

The mobile library service will also not operate, however, the home library deliveries service will be maintained as much as possible for the most vulnerable in our communities.

Fines will be waived, and customers need not worry about returning items in the short-term.

Further information and updates on libraries services can be found at www.warwickshire.gov.uk/libraries where you can renew books online 24/7 and access digital library services such as eBooks, magazines and newspapers, and audio books.

Customers who would normally access services face-to-face through Warwickshire one stop shops should contact Warwickshire County Council’s Customer Service Centre on 0300 555 8171 and many services can be accessed online at www.warwickshire.gov.uk.

Several museum services nationally and locally have already closed to the general public and Warwickshire County Council’s Museum and Archive Service public sites will also close to the public from the end of today (Friday 20th March).

There are already a variety of digital library and museum services available online and staff will be enhancing these further over the coming weeks, including boosting the online enquiry service, developing resources for study support for pupils and supporting residents to access eBooks, magazines and newspapers.

Councillor Kam Kaur, Warwickshire County Council’s Portfolio Holder for Customer and Transformation, said: “Like many local authorities, we have been faced with the challenge of ensuring that our services continue to operate, albeit in a different way, during this unprecedented national situation.

“Although we are closing our library buildings, we are not closing the Warwickshire Libraries service, with our core digital libraries services being available online.

“We already offer some brilliant online services including the ability to renew books online 24/7 on the Warwickshire Libraries webpage, borrow free eBooks and eAudio books and music through BorrowBox, and read eMagazines and eNewspapers online. All these services are completely free to Warwickshire Libraries users.

“These online services will be further boosted by our wonderful staff over the coming weeks, who will be working hard to develop our digital services, behind the scenes, to support residents.”

Councillor Heather Timms, Warwickshire County Council’s Portfolio Holder for Environment and Heritage & Culture, said: “We have already, regrettably, seen other museum services close both nationally and locally as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak and, following Public Health advice, we have had to make the tough decision to follow suit and close our Museums and Archives service to the public.

“Our staff will continue to work proactively behind the scenes to support our residents over the coming weeks and are planning online activities for everyone to take part in and enjoy. So please follow the service on its social media channels and visit the websites to find out the very latest.”

Warwickshire Libraries website: www.warwickshire.gov.uk/libraries

Twitter: @warkslibraries

Facebook: www.facebook.com/warwickshirelibraries

Heritage & Culture websites: heritage.warwickshire.gov.uk & ourwarwickshire.org.uk

Twitter: @OisintheDeer @RuairiTheFawn @OurWarwickshire @Chambearlin

Facebook: www.facebook.com/warwickshiremuseum

Instagram: @heritageandculturewarwickshire