Published: Wednesday, 1st Jul 2020

Book lovers in Bolton can now order and collect their next read from six of the borough’s libraries, as part of a phased return of services as lockdown is gradually eased.

Readers can borrow a bundle of books which can be collected at Breightmet, Central, Farnworth, Harwood, Horwich, and Westhoughton libraries from Monday (July 6).

Please call 01204 332853 or email to order a bundle of six books which can be either themed or from mixed categories.

Books, including those borrowed before lockdown, can also be dropped off in containers outside these libraries.

All books will be quarantined for 72 hours before going back into circulation.

Collections and returns will be available from Central Library 9am to 6pm on weekdays and 10am to 4pm on Saturdays.

Breightmet, Farnworth, Harwood, Horwich, and Westhoughton libraries will run the services from 10am to 4pm Monday to Saturday.

These services will be available at other libraries across the borough at a later date.

Safety of staff and the public remain the top priority, strict hygiene and social distancing measures will be in place and closely monitored.

Once it is safe to do so, other services will be gradually reintroduced. 

Book browsing and public computers will be available at Central Library from Monday, July 13. The public will also be able to visit Bolton Museum in limited numbers from Tuesday, July 14.

The council will then look to allow browsing at other libraries as well as reopening the aquarium and historic halls.

This is a welcome first step towards reopening the libraries that provide a vital lifeline for so many in our community.

Cllr Hilary Fairclough, cabinet member with responsibility for libraries, said: “This is a welcome first step towards reopening the libraries that provide a vital lifeline for so many in our community.

“Social distancing and other safety precautions will be closely monitored, and a thorough assessment will take place before other services are reopened.

“All being well, I look forward to the reopening of Bolton Museum, which has a significant role to play in our economic recovery by bringing visitors into the town.”

As part of the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, all library buildings were closed to the public on March 23.

The council quickly extended its Home Library Service to ensure vulnerable residents and those who are shielding could have books delivered directly.

Staff worked hard to produce themed online activities to help keep people connected to the library and museum, helping residents learn new skills and expand their knowledge.

A wide range of free eBooks, eAudio books and eMagazines continue to be available on the library service website.

All fines have been removed for the period of time libraries have been closed, this will continue until further notice. 

For the latest updates, follow the Library and Museum Service on Facebook and Twitter.