Our Chief Executive on our reopening plans! (July 2020)

Published 21st May 2020

This article relates to our reopening in July 2020. Please visit our Service Disruption page for the current situation. 

We’re planning to reopen safely, and we can’t wait to inspire you!

Since we closed our libraries on 20 March due to Coronavirus, my colleagues and I have been adjusting to circumstances that were unthinkable just a few months ago and also working hard to bring you culture, learning and libraries at home with #InspireOnline. We are delighted to welcome new library members during this closure, and for them and our existing users to have made use of our online resources. Compared to the same period last year, eReading has more than doubled during our closure. 

Now as lockdown restrictions change I wanted to let you know that we are busy planning to safely welcome you back to your local library in person. 

Last week I received the welcome news that library premises may reopen from 4 July as part of Step 3 of the Government’s recovery plan if the R number (rate of infection) is low enough. With the safety of our customers and staff as a priority, the work required to reopen in line with government guidance, health and safety advice and best practise, is not a simple process. 

We normally welcome over 50,000 library visitors and deliver over 200 courses and events each week, however we can only resume services in a limited, safe and socially distanced way. In the coming weeks, staff will start to return safely to our Nottinghamshire Library buildings and Archives to make the necessary preparations for what will be a phased reopening. From week commencing 6 July, we will have a phased reopening to offer a limited loan, information and ICT service, in many of our libraries and the archives. Read more here. 

If you’re also wondering about our other services, here is a quick update;

  • Inspire Learning will launch their summer term next week with an online programme of adult learning courses.
  • Inspire Music will continue to offer virtual teaching until further notice.
  • Inspire Youth Arts are developing a virtual offer and will not resume face to face sessions until later in the year.
  • The Education Library Service will be resuming a service to schools from June.  
  • ASK Inspire our information and customer help service will continue to offer the same great service. They can be contacted by email, ask@inspireculture.org.uk or on 01623 677 200. Overdue charges continue to be waived so there is no need to contact us to renew.
As you return to your local library we will need your help too! We will update you again before we reopen to let you know more about the services we will be offering, our guidelines and the changes we have made. Please follow our guidelines, be patient and kind to our staff and other users to help us provide the best service to you and your community.   

Thank you for your patience during our closure, and don’t forget you can access online reading resources, events, activities and information at inspireculture.org.uk/online.  

Stay safe and take care, 
Peter Gaw 

Chief Executive, Inspire 

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