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Your views sought on plans to reopen library services safely

We are seeking your views to help with our planning for reopening library services safely in the county during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The library service in Wiltshire was temporarily closed,due to the COVID-19 pandemic on 20 March. The existing eBooks, eMagazines and eAudio service continues providing access to reading material, and on 27 March a new service launched via Facebook offering rhyme times, tea and chat, bedtime stories and online book groups. At the start of June, the Home Library service was relaunched, serving library members shielding and without digital access to download books; this service is currently used by approximately 100 people. The online library content produced since lockdown has so far generated more than 83,000 views and we appreciate everyone's support.

To make sure the library services we provide meet your needs safely and are as innovative in their delivery as possible, we would like to hear your ideas and feedback on reopening, so we can shape a service that suits you during this time.

During this challenging time the council has to manage its resources carefully and has put forward three possible options for how the service might operate during the COVID-19 pandemic. You are also encouraged to provide your own ideas to help us deliver the most appropriate service in the circumstances and within the council's current financial resources.

The possible options take into account COVID-19 guidelines, social distancing measures and the resources available meaning that there will be a partial and phased reopening of library services.

The possible options being considered include:

Option 1 

An order and collect service.

This involves customers contacting the library service by email/phone to request books or other materials that they wish to borrow. This might include specific authors or topics such as crime or autobiographies. These would then be collected in person from a library.

This would operate from 10 August at some main library hubs in Wiltshire, and in each of the 18 community areas across the county by the end of September. This means that 20 libraries could potentially be open by the end of September, subject to staff and finances being available.

Option 2

An order and collect service with bookable computer access.

The order and collect service as detailed above and the ability to pre-book a computer session for those without access to the internet.

This would operate from 10 August at some main library hubs in Wiltshire and in each community area across the county by the end of September.

Option 3

A socially distanced service offering the public some access to browse stock and use computers. This would operate in up to six libraries from the end of August and a maximum of a further four, subject to staff capacity and social distancing requirements.

A four-week public consultation is now underway. Hard copies will be made available at County Hall, Trowbridge; Monkton Park, Chippenham; and Bourne Hill, Salisbury. The consultation closes on 26 July 2020.

Following analysis of the feedback received, the favoured option will likely be introduced initially for a six-month period from 10 August.Monthly reviews will also be carried out to assess how the impact of COVID-19 is changing, the financial impact of operating, lessons learnt and the opportunities for change.

In the meantime, we have a range of online resources to keep you busy.

FAQs on consultation to reopen library services during COVID-19 pandemic

Now that the Government has confirmed that libraries can reopen we have given ourselves some time to look at the guidance carefully and ensure that when we reintroduce some library services during the COVID-19 pandemic, that they are safe for the public, our staff and volunteers, and take into account our current resources and financial pressures. We also wanted people to get involved in our planning and to tell us how they think we should reopen and to provide any ideas they have. This will really help us shape the service we provide during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Our aim is to reopen some library services at the conclusion of the consultation and that will mean we have time before then to carefully plan, using people’s feedback, and ensure we aren’t rushing back – which will be beneficial to our staff, volunteers and the public. 


Following analysis of the feedback received during the consultation, the favoured option will likely be introduced initially for a six-month period. We hope to have reopened some services by 10 August but that date could change. Monthly reviews will also be carried out to assess how the impact of COVID-19 is changing, the financial impact of operating, lessons learnt, what library-users are telling us, and possible opportunities for change


Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on our finances and resources, we will not be able to open all libraries in Wiltshire straight away. There are 33 libraries in Wiltshire, including mobile libraries, and unfortunately it won’t be possible to run all those services during the COVID-19 pandemic, but we’ll still be aiming to provide an innovative and vibrant service to people. Following analysis of the consultation feedback, some services will return initially for a six month period, likely to be from 10 August. There will be regular reviews in between to see how effective this is proving to be. When the consultation has concluded we will detail the plans for reopening services during the COVID-19 pandemic. 


Given that the services libraries provide will be different during the COVID-19 pandemic when some are reopened, we felt it would be beneficial to ask residents to provide feedback on the options we are considering when we reopen services. The consultation gives people the opportunity to look at the options we are considering when planning to reopen some library services, to help ensure they meet the needs of the public safely and are as innovative in their delivery as possible. We also welcome people’s ideas on how they think we should reopen services during the pandemic, given our resources, and we look forward to seeing what suggestions come in.


Given current COVID-19 social distancing measures and our current resources and financial pressures, it means we aren’t currently in a position to offer the same service during the COVID-19 pandemic as before. However, we are working hard to ensure residents still have some library services available to them during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the meantime, our libraries service has a range of online resources to keep people busy.


Information about Wiltshire Council services can be made available on request in other languages including BSL and formats such as large print and audio. Please contact the council by telephone 0300 456 0100, by textphone 01225 712500, or email: customerservices@wiltshire.gov.uk. You can also translate our webpages using Google Translate.

Silly Squad

Summer Reading Challenge 2020

The annual Summer Reading Challenge for four to 11 year olds is produced by The Reading Agency and delivered by libraries. Unfortunately, this year we're unable to run the challenge in the normal way but we are pleased to say that The Reading Agency are running a digital challenge from June to September.

We will also be setting our own set of fun Wiltshire reading challenges throughout August.

To find out more, visit our Summer Reading Challenge page.

opening times

Wiltshire libraries are closed until further notice

Following government advice and to help stop the transmission of COVID-19, all Wiltshire libraries are closed and the mobile libraries are off the road until further notice.

All items due back during this closure will be automatically extended throughout the closed period and no fines or charges will be incurred. 

You can still borrow our eBooks, eAudiobooks and eMagazines and access our online resources.

You can also join in with our Facebook live rhyme times via our Facebook pages or watch them at any time on our YouTube channel

If you're not a library member but would like to access the resources, you can join the library online.
For further information, please visit the COVID-19 page.

Reading passport app 3

Reading Passport app

Download the free Reading Passport app to start your virtual journey across the South West.

Collect stamps for every book you read and event you attend. These stamps will then unlock different locations along your journey across the South West. Community pages allow you to add book reviews and submit your own creative writing.

Start your journey today by searching for Reading Passport in the App Store or Google Play store.

Happy Exploring!



eMagazines have been added to our collection of eBooks and eAudiobooks. RBdigital eMagazines are available for you to read for free using your library card number at any time of day or night.

Find out more by visiting the eBook, eAudio and eMagazine and FAQs pages.

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Last updated: 7 July 2020 | Last reviewed: 7 July 2020