Coronavirus: Libraries, archives and museums

Libraries

(updated 12 August 2020)

We are pleased to announce that 12 libraries are reopened on Monday 27 July with reduced hours and pre-booked appointments. From 19 August, a further 14 libraries will also reopen.

Find out more about how to book an appointment.

Home library service

We are prioritising our most vulnerable customers by recommencing our home library service first.

Our staff will choose and pack books and phone the home library service customers who have requested the service to arrange delivery when staff return to the 12 libraries on 20 July.

What is on offer

Opening hours are Monday to Friday 10am-1pm and 2pm-4pm. Some libraries are opening on Saturdays 10am-2pm

For our two offers you need to book an appointment. We are still getting our online appointments system ready and this should be available soon:

  • Six of the best – we will select up to six books for you to collect from the library via a pre-booked appointment slot.
  • Browse and borrow – you can make an appointment to come into the library and choose books. There will be a limit on how many people can come into the building at any one time.

Please be ready to provide your name and contact details to support the NHS Test and Trace system. If you just want to return your books then you can place them in the returned books container at the library entrance for quarantining.

Our other libraries will remain closed for now but you can book an appointment at any of the above libraries, even if you don't normally use them. 

You will appreciate that each reopened library will not look and feel the same as when it closed in March.

Computers, printers and photocopiers will be available at all open libraries. A pre-booked appointment is required.

Our other libraries will reopen when it is safe to do so and we will let you know as soon as we have more information.

The school library service is now open and schools are able to access reading and library services in readiness for the autumn term.

Our mobile library service remains closed for the time being.

We look forward to welcoming you back.

Renewals and returns

You will still not be charged for the late return of any items until further notice. We will continue to review this on a regular basis.

You can return items you currently have on loan to any of the reopened libraries. Please do not try to post them through letter boxes or leave them outside libraries that are still closed.

Please help us by renewing online or using the automated phone line 0300 123 6704.

Where possible, your items will be renewed to the first week in December. If you have items that cannot be renewed please contact us with details and include your library card number. 

Reservations

If you had reserved items waiting before we closed, we will do our best to make these available for your collection after reopening.

We will deal with other reservations as soon as we can after we reopen.

Online services

We've got lots of great things for you in Your library at home.

Download eBooks, eAudio, newspapers, magazines and comics using BorrowBox, RBdigital and Press Reader.

Use our online reference resources including information, facts and figures, family and local history, newspapers old and new, school homework and study, music and literature.

Home library service

(updated 16 July 2020)

Our home library service will resume 23 July onwards for those home library service customers who want us to start providing a socially distanced delivery service. Our library service drivers will initially deliver the books. We are working with the Lancashire Volunteer Partnership in order to start using their volunteers again as restrictions are further relaxed.

A third of our home library service users are also using Lancashire Volunteer Partnership's telephone befriending service. This means that a volunteer rings them on a regular basis to have a friendly chat and make sure they are well.

This service is still available to all people in Lancashire who may feel lonely, isolated, vulnerable or in need of support. If you know someone who you feel would benefit from a welfare call why not refer them but please ask their permission first. You can find the referral form on the volunteer partnership's website.

Archives

(updated 30 June 2020)

Please note the Archives building is still closed to personal visitors. A  full copying and enquiry service will be available from 1 July.

(updated 18 June 2020)

The Archives building is closed to the public until further notice. We are carefully following government guidance as it is issued and will continue to keep you updated about our plans including progress towards reopening.

We are still offering a remote archive service and answering enquiries as best we can without having full access to our collections. We will be offering a full copying and enquiry service from 1 July.

Information is on the website, our catalogues can be searched online using LANCAT and a lot of Lancashire parish registers are available online at Ancestry. 

Find more local and family history resources available from the library service.

We will still be producing our monthly News from the Archives which we can email to you if you contact record.office@lancashire.gov.uk

(8 May 2020)

We're creating a new COVID 19 pandemic archive collection so that future generations understand the effect of COVID19 on everyday life in Lancashire. Contributions are welcome from all ages including children.

Museums

(updated 18 June 2020)

We want to reassure you that we are working hard to be able to reopen museums as soon as we can. A key priority will be making sure that a safe environment is created for you and our museum staff. Each museum has its own challenges in achieving full compliance with social distancing guidelines, but we will keep you updated on progress here.

Read our new blog Stories from Lancashire Museums or look at our collections online.

Lancaster Castle guided tours

Due to major refurbishment works taking place in the Shire Hall Complex, Lancashire County Council has suspended guided tours at Lancaster Castle until January 2021.

Volunteers and Friends' groups

Our volunteers from the Lancashire Volunteer Partnership and the  libraries and museum friends' groups were put on hold at the start of the pandemic.

They are all vital to our services and we will be welcoming them back once we know more about the reopening of our libraries, museums and the archive service.

We will then be in contact with all our volunteers and the libraries and museum friends' groups.