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Lord Mayor of Westminster visits libraries post-lockdown

Tue, 28/07/2020

Lord Mayor of Westminster visits libraries to see how they’re doing post-lockdown

Today (Tuesday 28th July), the Lord Mayor of Westminster, Cllr Jonathan Glanz, visited three libraries to witness first-hand how they have adapted to function safely and effectively since they were permitted to reopen their doors on 4th July, following the easing of lockdown.

On the agenda were visits to St John’s Wood Library, Marylebone Library, and Mayfair Library. At each venue, the Lord Mayor was given a socially distanced tour, and informed of the measures that have been implemented to make sure that people can visit libraries safely and within government guidance.

Measures to make every library visit as safe as possible include;

  • Perspex screens at service desks
  • Strict capacity enforcement limiting the number of visitors at a time
  • Hand sanitiser stations throughout the buildings
  • Quarantining returned items for 72 hours
  • Floor marking to direct flow and aid in social distancing

In the first week following the 4th July reopening date specified by the government, Westminster City Council began to reopen their libraries in a staged way. They welcomed 6000 visitors who borrowed over 19,000 books and other items, as well as receiving applications from 200 people to join the libraries. There were also over 800 hours of computer time logged.

The Lord Mayor, Cllr Jonathan Glanz said:

“Libraries are essential to our communities and allow for a greater equality in access to literature, people, the internet, and other activities. One of my main aims during my time as Lord Mayor is inclusion so all those people who live, work, and visit Westminster have equal opportunities, so I am really pleased to see them open and coping well in these trying times.

“Although our libraries cannot currently be the thriving social hubs we previously knew them to be, the adaptations and ingenuity I have witnessed throughout the day is testament to the hard work of our library staff, and their commitment to the needs of our residents.”

Laurence Foe, Manager of Mayfair Library said:

"It was great to welcome the Lord Mayor to our Library today to show how we've adapted to become Covid-safe. We want our communities to feel confident enough to come back and utilise our facilities and services as they used to.

"We are happy to welcome back visitors in person, but we're also proud that our virtual and online offering has developed and improved throughout the lockdown period and would encourage those who can't come to see us physically, to continue to use these."

Last updated: 28 July 2020