Online library services in North Yorkshire are being boosted and people are being encouraged to take advantage of them.
County Council-managed libraries will close temporarily from 5pm today (Monday 23 March) in response to the Covid-19 outbreak.
North Yorkshire County Council’s library service is also extending the loan period for all physical books, DVDs and CDs already on loan or renewed to three months, so that people do not need to worry about accruing fines.
County Councillor Greg White, Executive Member for Libraries, said: “While the Government has not specifically cited libraries in its briefings, in light of the recent escalation of the Covid-19 situation it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that library buildings should close to protect communities, staff and volunteers from infection.
“We understand that some residents rely on their library as a place to get information and support. We are working to ensure that while the libraries remain closed everyone can access the information and support they need.
“People who are at home and can get online can make use of our extensive digital service. Thousands of e-books, e-audio books, newspapers, magazines, comics, reference works and educational resources are available, and we’re making it easy for people to access them, if they don’t already do so, and to join the library if they are not yet members.
“We anticipate increased demand for e-books and e-audio, so have placed an order to make more copies available.”
All the digital services can be found at www.northyorks.gov.uk/digital-library. To access these, you will need your library card number and PIN number. If you do not know your PIN, call 01609 533878 and one will be issued. If you are not a library member and wish to join, ring the same number.
The County Council managed libraries are those in Filey, Harrogate, Knaresborough, Malton, Northallerton, Pickering, Ripon, Scarborough, Selby, Skipton and Whitby.
Most community libraries run by other groups or organisations have already closed. The County library service is keeping in touch with those that are looking at different ways to try to maintain a limited service. Discussions are also taking place about the home library service, which delivers books to people unable to get to a library. For latest updates on the library service, and other County Council services, visit www.northyorks.gov.uk/coronavirus
Everyone is reminded to follow the Government’s advice to protect the NHS and save lives.
Stay at home is at all possible. If it is essential to go out, you should keep two metres – that’s about seven feet – between themselves and other people. Remember to wash their hands regularly for at least 20 seconds.