11:30AM, Friday 09 October 2020
Maidenhead Library has opened its doors to the public for browsing and computer use.
The library reopened on Wednesday, September 30 after offering a ‘select and collect’ service five days a week from July, where customers called ahead to pick a book or DVD from the library.
“As soon as we had done our risk assessment and knew that it was safe for our staff and customers to come back we opened for browsing,” said Samantha Davidson, supervisor for Royal Borough library and resident services.
The library has installed a two-metre distancing grid on the ground floor to help customers social distance, provided hand sanitiser and wipes and everyone is required to wear a mask when visiting unless they are exempt.
“We give the customers all the tools to be safe,” said Samantha.
“We can’t monitor everyone but people are very good. Nobody wants to catch a virus.”
All returned items are quarantined for three to four days before going back on the shelves.
Samantha said the library hasn’t been ‘as busy as it was before’ but many people are keen to come back.
“People aren’t aware we are open but as soon as they find out they visit,” she added.
During the lockdown library staff managed the Royal Borough’s emergency coronavirus line.
“We made phone calls to shielding residents to make sure they had enough food, enough medication and put them in contact with volunteer groups,” said Samantha.
Customers wishing to use the computer must book in advance and are limited to 45 minute sessions per day.
“We welcome people to browse but not to linger or spend too much time here because of the pandemic,” said Samantha.
“We have to tread a fine line between being welcoming and being strict. We need to keep our staff and customers safe.”
The library is holding a consultation about its opening hours and customers can fill in the form here or collect a paper copy from the library.
A student from Maidenhead who suspects she was spiked with a needle on a night out after waking up in hospital the next day has urged people to report similar incidents to the police.