Some library services may be able to continue if they are declared ‘essential’

Library bosses in York hope that at least some of their services may continue to be able to operate during lockdown, if libraries are declared ‘essential services’.

Fiona Williams, chief executive of Explore York Libraries and Archives, said it was still possible that library services may be categorised as ‘essential’ by the government – although it was not yet clear.

If that did happen, some library services may be able to remain open after Thursday, she said.

“We would like to be able to keep access to PCs open at bigger libraries if we can,” she said. “That is really important to a lot of people.

“We hope we may also be able to do a ‘click and deliver’ library service. But at the moment we just don’t know.”

At the time of speaking today, however, it was still uncertain whether libraries would be classed as ‘essential services’ – so library staff are preparing for all eventualities.

Even if libraries are forced to close, online services such as Press Reader would continue, Fiona said. Explore York Libraries also has a popular YouTube channel that library users will still be able to access. A Christmas panto is planned on the channel for December.

York’s libraries only re-opened in September, after weeks in lockdown.

York Press | News