Libraries visitors will be able to browse books from Monday (3rd August) as South Tyneside Council moves to the next stage in a gradual return of library services.
The Council is taking a step-by-step approach to reopening libraries. This started in early July with a pre-order, book return and collection service and, over recent weeks, users have been reserving time-limited access to the public computer suites.
Now the Council is giving people the chance to enjoy browsing of selected shelves. Visitors must pre-book their slots. Bookings are being taken from this Thursday (30 July).
Other restrictions will remain in place including access to ground floors only. Toilets are strictly for library users at this time and the cafes within The Word and Hebburn Central will be open for takeaway customers only. Seating will be unavailable. Social distancing rules will be observed.
Councillor Tracey Dixon, Deputy Leader of South Tyneside Council, said: "While our much-loved libraries are not yet fully open, we are delighted to welcome people back to browse and choose their books once again.
"This is a positive step forward in our phased return of library services while ensuring that the safety of staff and residents remains our top priority.
"To help us control visitor numbers and adhere to social distancing restrictions, it is really important that people pre-book their visit and that they don't just turn up. There also won't be places to sit and read, with library visitors encouraged to choose their books and leave.
"We are continuing to monitor the new arrangements, which will remain in place for now. Only when the national guidance sees restrictions eased enough will we be able to roll out access to a wider range of our popular library services."
To book a visit or get further information about opening times and computer availability, residents are encouraged to contact their local branch: The Word (0191) 427 1818; Hebburn Central: (0191) 424 7831; Jarrow Focus: (0191) 489 7786 and Cleadon Park: (0191) 424 6194.
Library members can continue to use the range of online services available, with 24-hour access to hundreds of ebooks, eAudiobooks and online magazines - all free to download.
Those not already registered as library members, can still sign up online and begin accessing the online services straightaway.
For further information about South Tyneside Libraries, or to join the library, visit www.southtyneside.gov.uk/libraries Keep up to date with South Tyneside Libraries on social media, on Facebook southtynesidelibraries and STynesideCouncil and on Twitter @SouthTyneLibs and @STyne_Council