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Herts and Essex county councils close libraries in response to coronavirus




Libraries in Bishop's Stortford, Sawbridgeworth and Stansted have been closed in a bid to control the spread of coronavirus.

On Saturday (March 21), Herts County Council's cabinet member for education, libraries and localism said the authority's premises would close until at least Wednesday (March 25).

Cllr Terry Douris said: "Due to Covid-19 we have taken the difficult decision to close our libraries with immediate effect for the next few days as a precautionary measure whilst we assess how we might continue to provide some elements of the service to the community.

Bishops Stortford general views.Bishops Stortford Library..Pic: Vikki Lince. (32211492)
Bishops Stortford general views.Bishops Stortford Library..Pic: Vikki Lince. (32211492)

"Our customers, staff and volunteers' health and wellbeing are of paramount importance for us at Hertfordshire County Council and we want to reassure everyone that we are doing everything within our power to respond quickly to national developments and protect all our residents.

"As the county follows Government advice on social distancing and self-isolation, we think it's important that our residents still have access to a library service. Currently this can be achieved by downloading the Borrow Box app, where you can continue to enjoy your favourite e-books and listen to audiobooks as part of your membership."

No items will be due back during suspension of services at the libraries in The Causeway, Bishop's Stortford, and The Forebury, Sawbridgeworth, and the council is extending all loan periods.

Stansted Mountfitchet.General Views.New Library building, Crafton Green. .Pic: Vikki Lince. (32211508)
Stansted Mountfitchet.General Views.New Library building, Crafton Green. .Pic: Vikki Lince. (32211508)

Essex County Council says all its libraries and mobile libraries, including The Mountfitchet Exchange at Crafton Green, will be closed until further notice and all loans will be extended, overdue charges will be waived and reservations suspended.

A spokesman said: "We are making arrangements to ensure people can attend appointments with registrars who are currently based in some of our libraries.

"We are buying more titles for our eLibrary to give you more choice and working with our suppliers to enable new customers joining online to be able to access these services quickly and without needing to collect a library card from a library."


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