Suffolk Libraries to close until further notice to protect staff and customers during coronavirus outbreak
Libraries across Suffolk will close until further notice later today due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The move comes after Public Health England and prime minister Boris Johnson urged people to stay at home and avoid non-essential social contact.
Bruce Leeke, chief executive of Suffolk Libraries, said the decision did not mean that the service provided by the libraries would stop.
“We regret taking this decision but hope customers understand that we have to put people’s health and wellbeing first," he said.
“We know that many people across the county rely on Suffolk Libraries for social interaction and information.
"We are already exploring how we continue to reach customers with the county council and our staff. I’m grateful to all our staff for their commitment to keep providing a library service during this very trying period.”
Library buildings will close to customers from the end of today and the mobile library service will also be suspended.
Cllr Paul West, cabinet member for Ipswich, communities and waste at Suffolk County Council, added: “Libraries are at the heart of our communities and support a range of services across Suffolk. It is our priority to ensure that people can still access services while balancing the welfare needs of staff.”
Suffolk Libraries will be working on developing ways to still bring the library service to people during this time.
All events and activities run by or at the libraries have been suspended to ensure the safety of customers and staff.
The Home Library Service has also been suspended, with volunteers instead making contact with older and disabled customers who may feel lonely and isolated.
Overdue book charges have been frozen and return dates have been extended indefinitely, and the eLibrary service, which has around 60,000 items available, is still running.
To contact the Suffolk Libraries' customer service team email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01473 351249 and leave a message. The team are available between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday.
More by this authorRhoda Morrison