All libraries in York set to re-open in September

Staff at Explore’s libraries and cafes across York can’t wait to welcome everyone back from the week beginning Monday 7 September.

Smaller libraries, as well as the larger Explore centres which opened in July, will be open and customers will be able to drop-in to browse the books for the first time since March.

Opening times will vary, with shorter than normal hours at some places and all libraries closing by 5pm. The Reading Cafes at York, Acomb and Tang Hall libraries will re-open too and there will be books to borrow again at the cafes in Rowntree Park and Hungate.

The Local and Family History rooms at York Explore will be open, but anyone wanting to use them will need to book ahead so that safe social distancing can be maintained. The Archives reading room will re-open from October for pre-booked visits.

In-person events are not yet possible, but Explore has planned an exciting programme of virtual events for autumn 2020 so look out for further announcements or follow Explore on social media for the latest information. And don’t forget that thousands of newspapers and magazines are available online through the PressReader app.

Fiona Williams Chief Executive of Explore said:

“We are so happy to be able to welcome everyone back. I was heartbroken when we had to close our libraries in March because of the pandemic. Throughout the closure, we supported people through our online library and website and kept in touch with our users.

We began to plan re-opening as soon as it was possible and we were so pleased to re-open partially at the beginning of July. We received so many lovely comments from our users who missed us and we are still running the Missed My Library survey so please do go to our website to complete it and let us know what you missed the most.

We have planned re-opening carefully, taking into account the safety of both staff and the public. We have trained staff and risk assessed our buildings, designing in social distancing.

The first re-opening stage has been very successful and we are now able to extend that from the beginning of September when all libraries will be open for browsing and borrowing, but with shorter than normal hours. Please see our website for full details of each library. We look forward to seeing you soon.”

Cllr Darryl Smalley, Executive Member for Culture, Leisure and Communities at City of York Council, said:

“Explore have provided tremendous support to York’s communities throughout the pandemic and I’m delighted to see this next phase of carefully considered and safe reopening.

Whether you’re a regular visitor or have never popped in, I urge everyone to take this wider reopening as an opportunity to enjoy and explore the brilliant range of services on offer at your local library.”